HAMMOND – The community action agencies that serve low-income individuals in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes honored those making a difference in their communities at a special event Thursday morning in Hammond.
Honored at the Community Action Hero Awards and Showcase were Donika Garner of Hammond and Helen Rutledge of Baton Rouge. The event also included a showcase of the services the agencies offer to area residents through Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding administered by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC).
Quad Area Community Action Agency, which serves Ascension, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington and West Feliciana parishes, selected Donika Garner for its Community Action Hero Award because of her dedication to shaping the lives of at-risk youth. “She is an advocate for education, and her desire is to help students obtain their GED and continue in their educational development. She has motivated and assisted St. Amant students, adult education students, and YouthBuild participants to enter vocational schools, technical colleges, or universities. She encourages them to never give up and to know that that they can achieve any goal as long as they believe in themselves,” the agency said in its nomination. Garner’s work with Quad Area CAA for the past year has been funded through federal stimulus money.
The East Baton Rouge Parish/Office of Social Services selected Helen Rutledge as its Community Action Hero. Rutledge joined the agency in March of this year as a vocational counselor, with her services made available through CSBG federal stimulus funds. “She has the passion to help people make a change in their lives, as seen in her client interactions and has moved individuals to goals that will help establish self-sufficiency for themselves and their families,” the agency said in its nomination.
The awards were presented as part of the LWC’s promotion of community action agencies that provide supportive services to help low-income individuals become or remain self-sufficient. Other agencies that serve the Baton Rouge area are the Iberville Parish Office of Social Services, Pointe Coupee Community Advancement, Inc., and West Baton Rouge Council.
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