June 2015 - In This Issue:
It's hard to believe WCAC is celebrating its 50th anniversary! It is my honor and privilege to oversee an agency which is blessed to enjoy such strong corporate support, political support, and community support.  As one of 25 Community Action Programs throughout the commonwealth, WCAC is responsible for developing and implementing programs designed to address the needs of the area's low and limited income population. While those needs may have changed over the last five decades, what hasn't changed, is our commitment to identifying those programs which are working well and doing more of what works. We will continue to focus on education, employment training and emergency assistance programs to achieve our mission of helping individuals and families move to economic self-sufficiency. Here's to the next fifty years!







Jill C. Dagilis

Executive Director

Making a difference in the lives of those we serve


"If it wasn't for Head Start I couldn't have gone to school or gotten my electrical license. We are in a good position to own a home and raise six kids because of their help." - Mark G. of Spencer

"WCAC was instrumental in getting me a job. I think they saw the potential in me." - Jourdan Y. of Worcester

"WCAC motivated me and made me believe what I can achieve. Success begins in your mind. Take full advantage of everything they have to offer." - Frances, JEC alumni

Congratulations to WCAC's longest serving employee - Fuel Specialist Marta Papaleo who was recently honored at WCAC's Annual Staff Day for a remarkable 35 years of service!

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enjoy a sweet treat when WCAC hosted the Wooberry Frozen Yogurt
truck next door to our downtown Worcester office. Save the date - we look forward to welcoming Wooberry back on 
Wednesday, July 29th
and Wednesday, August 19th!
Partial proceeds of all sales will again benefit WCAC.

Be a Head Start Hero!

Help Turn Up the Heat for those struggling with home heating bills!

Make a difference in the life a young person today!

Support WCAC programs with a tax-deductible donation!

Museums for All

Kudos to five Worcester-area museums who are paraticipating in the
Museums for All Initiative -
ensuring that every child and family has access to a high-quality children's museum experience!
Present your Massachusetts EBT card and a photo ID at the above museums for $2 cash admission per person, up to 4 people per card, per visit. Cannot be combined with other offers or used for special events.
Click here for additional details

Support WCAC when you shop!

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Worcester Community Action Council, Inc whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

Baker, Polito guests at joint anniversary event
WCAC celebrated its 50th anniversary with a joint celebration with the Worcester Business Development Corporation, also celebrating its fiftieth year, on May 21st under a beautiful tent on historic Worcester City Hall plaza. Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito were among the nearly 500 guests who attended. Click here to see photos from the celebration. 

The evening's festivities included several congratulatory speeches, a video highlighting the two agencies accomplishments as well as the presentation of several awards including the prestigious 2015 Bowditch Award to Congressman James P. McGovern and 2015 Action Hero Award winners Mirick O'Connell, recognized for the firm's longstanding commitment to the emergency fuel assistance program and strong support of at-risk youth enrolled in WCAC's Job & Education Center, and National Grid, recognized for their generous support of the fuel assistance program, providing some $150,000 in funding for no heat emergencies to over 300 households. 

A special thank you to the many, many corporate sponsors who made the evening possible. We look forward to the next fifty years of service to the people of Central Massachusetts!
Head Start teachers honored
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Head Start program by President Lyndon B. Johnson from the White House Rose Garden on May 18, 1965, teachers and staff from WCAC's Head Start program were honored with a special luncheon and presented red roses, courtesy of Big Bunny Supermarket in Southbridge.

A federal program which promotes school readiness of low and limited income children from birth to age five, Head Start enhances cognitive, social and emotional development supporting children's growth in many areas including language, literacy as well as social and emotional development, providing a safe and nurturing environment, enabling parents to work and/or attend school themselves. WCAC presently provides Head Start classrooms for 281 children at four sites in Auburn, Southbridge, Spencer and Webster. WCAC has provided service to more than 3,800 children since opening its Head Start program in 1992.
Healthy Families supports first time parents

WCAC's Healthy Families of Southern Worcester County program serves first-time parents age 20 and under, from pregnancy through their child's third birthday. All services are voluntary and free of charge, with no income guidelines. The family support program has proven effective in improving school readiness and academic achievement; having a positive impact on maternal and child health; preventing child abuse and neglect; improving child well-being, family functioning and parent well-being related to their child.


 83% of Healthy Families Massachusetts mothers are enrolled in school or have graduated at a rate significantly higher than identified in national studies, and 70% of Healthy Families Massachusetts mothers who were not in school when they enrolled in the program have returned to get their high school diplomas. As importantly, Healthy Families places a strong focus on dads as well. In fact, Healthy Families of Southern Worcester has won the state wide fatherhood award two out of the past three years for having the highest number of fathers participate in the program (home visits and groups), and was selected as the only Massachusetts site to participate in the Urban Institute of Washington DC's National Research study on father engagement in home visiting programs. Learn more about the Healthy Families program here.



Meet Jacinda Peters, pictured above with her now three year old son, Jayce. She was first referred to WCAC's Healthy Families program pregnant at age 17, going into her senior year of high school. Through the support of her family advocate, she recalls how very early on in her pregnancy she developed a strong connection with her advocate who assisted with everything from instruction on prenatal development to coordinating tutors so she could graduate high school with her class, followed by lessons on infant care and development, as well as support and goal setting for herself.


"The relationship you develop with the home visitors is so special - my son still asks for her," Jacinda says. "Without them I couldn't have made it. I don't know where I would be." Jacinda graduated from Quinsigamond Community College in May with a degree in early childhood education. She is now employed as a Family Support Advocate for Healthy Families. WCAC congratulates Jacinda and officially welcomes her to the family!

Ready for the next chapter!
The onset of summer brings about end of school year field trips, celebrations and graduations. For WCAC that is no exception. On Friday, June 19th, the agency's Job & Education Center celebrated 23 young people who successfully achieved their HiSET certificate during the last year as well as 21 youth who completed Work Readiness Training. Having arrived to WCAC via a non-traditional education path and having faced a variety of barriers, students were extremely proud to receive their certificates. Ceremonies included remarks by WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis, alumni of the program, as well as moving remarks by several of the graduating youth themselves who shared the struggles which led them to WCAC's door and the lasting friendships and sense of family developed through their time at the Job & Education Center.

"Coming to WCAC was the best decision of my life," said 18 year old Tiara. "The staff here has been my rock and my family." Click here to see more pictures from JEC's graduation. Special thanks to photographer Troy B. Thompson for capturing pictures of the special occasion and to Price Chopper of Cambridge Street who assisted with a celebratory cake and flowers for the graduates.

Likewise, during the past month, WCAC's Head Start program celebrated the 'graduation' of some 102 students who will enter Kindergarten in the fall - excited, ready and confident that the 'head start' they received will serve them well in their school years ahead and beyond! These youngsters join the ranks of some 3,800 others that WCAC's Head Start program has hosted in its history. Click here to see more images from the Head Start graduation.

WCAC extends its heartiest congratulations to all of recent graduates! The future is bright!

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.