JUNE 2016 - In This Issue:
People helping people. That is WCAC's mantra. We are people helping people. And in a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad with constant struggles, and seemingly insurmountable odds, we thought it appropriate to take a moment to share stories of good... stories of hope... stories of success. 

Since WCAC's establishment more than fifty years ago, s o many have acquired new skills, secured employment, earned high school credentials and college degrees, and learned how to successfully raise healthy families.  Equally important, we have helped so many people from the brink of crisis with emergency heating and community assistance programs. While the challenges related to poverty, income equality, and economic opportunity continue, WCAC stands strong, experienced and prepared to continue our important work.

People helping people - together we will continue to open doors of opportunity. Thank you for your continuing support of WCAC!

Jill C. Dagilis
Executive Director
Celebrating our Action Heroes

Thank you to everyone who made our 10th Annual Action Hero Celebration such a success. WCAC is truly fortunate to enjoy such strong support from all of the communities we serve and to count so many 'action heroes' among our friends! Check out our Photo Gallery from the celebration  HERE .

Setting the Stage 
for Student Success

MAPFRE Insurance of Webster recently donated school supplies - pencils, pencil boxes, hand held pencil sharpeners, erasers, scissors, glue sticks, tape, crayons, markers, colored pencils, watercolor paints and more - which were distributed to WCAC's  nearly 100 Head Start preschool 'graduates' to get them ready for Kindergarten. View additional pictures HERE.

$475K grant to Create Jobs

WCAC is pleased to be a lead partner with the City of Worcester, Clark University and others, as one of just five cities recently awarded a $475,000 grant from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and its  partners as part of the second round of the Working Cities Challenge in Massachusetts. Worcester will receive this three-year grant to enhance workforce development within the food sector economy. Learn more about the project  here.

Sharing our Success

WCAC extends its heartfelt appreciation to Kathleen Johnson who recently stepped down after nearly a decade as a member of the agency's Board of Directors. 

WCAC is pleased to welcome  four new members to its Board of Directors: Leslie Baker, Assistant Director for the Webster Adult Basic Education program; Kathryn Crockett, Vice President of the Worcester-based architecture firm Lamoureux Pagano; Eric Batista, Chief Staff Assistant in the city of Worcester's Office of the City Manager; and Radames Pagan, a resident of Plumley Village. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated board, committed to helping people move to economic self-sufficiency.

Be a Head Start Hero!

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From Healthy Families to Head Start,
ready for Kindergarten and beyond
Jayden as a Healthy Families participant.

Meet Jenna & Jose - and their son, Jayden

The Healthy Families program was overall amazing. Before our son was born we were given weekly information on his development and worked on getting ready for his arrival. Once he was born we set goals individually and as a family and worked towards achieving them. We received information on how he should be developing according to his age and activities we could do with him to enhance his development. We were also able to go to the support groups they run and meet other families and share ideas with each other. With the help of the program I was connected to many resources I did not know about. 

I had Jayden when I was 16 and was enrolled at Quinsigamond Community College in their Twelfth Year program where I finished my last year of high school and my first year of college simultaneously. Now I'm set to graduate as a Registered Nurse in 2017. They helped connect Jose, Jayden's father, with resources for jobs which was very helpful. Basically, anything we needed at different points in our journey with them, they were able to help with. Even after Jayden was too old for us to be enrolled in the program they still helped get us connected to the Head Start Program. The best part was working with people who are truly amazing at what they do and developing relationships that will last a lifetime!

Jayden with mom, Jenna and dad, Jose - now a Head Start graduate!
Being involved in Head Start allowed Jayden to get into a routine of being in a structured learning environment. He learned how to write, start to read, tell time, count to at least 100 in English and 15 in Spanish, learned to share, work out issues with peers using a solution book, and more during the year he was enrolled with Head Start. It was nice to work on things with him at home and then see the difference when he comes home from school and shows us the improvement he has made with what he had worked on that day at school.  We became involved with the Head Start Policy Council because we want to be as involved in Jayden's education as possible.

Found his wings at WCAC
  Meet Christian 

When the stress of growing up in a single parent household become too much, Christian Olivo found himself depressed, a high school dropout and uncertain about his future. A friend referred him to WCAC's high school certificate program, WINGS. "It was amazing - a lot more than I expected," he says. "The staff made everything easy and was committed to helping me make a better life for myself."

After earning his HiSET (formerly known as the GED), Christian enrolled in WCAC's Youth Employment Seminar, a work readiness program covering everything from soft skills, to resume writing and mock interviews. "It was a great experience to get ready for the workforce," he recalls. Having expressed interest in a career in the field of banking or financial services, Christian spent time volunteering with WCAC's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program before staff helped him secure an internship with AllCom Credit Union. "After two months they liked who I was and how I worked," he said. "On April 28, 2012 they hired me as a teller." Recently honored at WCAC's 10th Annual Action Hero Celebration for his great success, Christian was recently promoted to a senior teller position at AllCom. He and his wife are now preparing to buy their first home together.

"If you are having a hard time finding your place, WCAC's doors are open. It is a welcome, friendly environment," Christian remembers fondly. "They do everything in their power - even after hours - to make sure you have a better and brighter future."
Once a client, now serving those in need
Meet Winnie

"Everybody needs somebody, WCAC was my somebody," says Winnie Octave.  A single mom of three transplanted to Worcester after a divorce, Winnie's first interaction with WCAC came through computer classes designed to improve skills and enhance employment opportunties... that led to other programs and services - and eventually a 13 year stint as a member of WCAC's Board of Directors. "Everything fell into place," she says. "WCAC was the backbone to all of the other opportunities which came my way." Now a homeowner and proud mom of two grown sons and a daughter, she's recently returned to WCAC where she is working with clients facing utility shutoffs.

LIHEAP there when single mom needed it
Thank you for notifying me of your upcoming fuel assistance (LIHEAP) deadline, but I am happy to inform your agency that I will no longer be needing fuel assistance.  I do want to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your past assistance. As the mother of two young boys, working part-time trying to make ends meet, your program was essential. I don't mea n it was "nice" that you paid part of my electric bill, I mean we would have gone without heat if it wasn't for the help of your organization.

I had to work part-time so that I could get my sons on and off the school bus each day. I could not afford day-care (they made more than I did). I became the master of the $5.00 meal (yes for all three of us). Those were hard times, but not unhappy times. Your organization helped make sure that we were warm and safe (frozen pipes are not only costly, but dangerous).

My boys and I are now in a better situation. I have a good paying full time job and my boys are almost on their own too. When you hear that "It takes a community to raise a child" that includes programs like LIHEAP. Thank you so much for being there when we needed assistance. I am sure that my family is not the only one that feels this sense of gratitude. Keep up the amazing work.

With much appreciation, yours truly,
Carol L. - Douglas, MA
Have you or someone you know been touched by a WCAC program? We'd love to hear from you! Reach out to us at info@wcac.net to share your story.

WCAC: The Antipoverty Agency for Central Massachusetts

Helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships and advocacy.

Serving the City of Worcester and neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough.