ALEXANDRIA – The community action agencies that serve low-income individuals in Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Vernon parishes honored those making a difference in their communities at a special event Thursday morning (Sept. 16) in Alexandria.
Honored at the Community Action Hero Awards and Showcase were the board of directors for the Avoyelles Progress Action Committee, Inc.; staff of the Cenla Community Action Committee, Inc.; Rogenia Wilson of Winnsboro; and Charles Driver of New Llano. 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).
The Avoyelles Progress Action Committee, Inc. (APAC) selected its board of directors for its Community Action Hero Award, which was accepted by Board Vice President Derrick Whittington. Members of the board “share a commitment to reduce and eliminate causes and conditions of poverty, and to help individuals, families, and communities become stronger and independent,” said APAC Executive Director Brenda Wilmer in her nomination. “Our board members spend numerous hours promoting public awareness of the various programs and resources available through our office to help reduce the financial burden for low-income families. We consider the members of our board as heroes of peace without regard to personal consequences. They have the best interest at heart by embracing obstacles as opportunities for growth,” she said.
The staff of Cenla Community Action Committee, Inc. (CAC) was selected for the agency’s Community Action Hero Award. “The staff of this organization working as a team makes the difference,” said Cenla CAC Executive Director Joan A. Lee in her nomination, citing the employees’ “unselfish, compassionate service to the economically challenged citizens of Rapides Parish.” Lee provided statistical evidence of the staff’s efforts, including 482 foreclosures/evictions prevented, 581 utility disconnections averted, and 41 families who “did not have to wonder where their next meal would come from when they received their portion of groceries that were purchased,” Lee said.
LaSalle Community Action Association, Inc. (CAA) named Rogenia Wilson of the Franklin Community Development Center in Winnsboro as its Community Action Hero. Wilson’s efforts “going above and beyond her duties” on behalf of the agency’s Summer Employment Program was the focus of her nomination by Dorothy C. Oliver, LaSalle CAA executive director. “She diligently worked to make sure that participants were closely matched and placed with the best employer, provided encouragement and counseling to those who needed it, and submitted paperwork efficiently and on time to ensure that participants received their payroll checks,” Oliver said.
Vernon Community Action Council, Inc. (CAC) selected Charles Driver of New Llano as its Community Action Hero. A 10-year member of the agency’s board of directors, including service as president for many of those years, Driver “exemplifies what community action stands for,” said Renee Brannan, Vernon CAC executive director, in her nomination. “When we worked, Mr. Charlie did as well, distributing commodities, food for seniors, fundraising, and fully supporting our special project events. He knows community action because he devoted himself to learning what we stand for, where we came from, and where we are going. He takes on projects to help others when no one else can or will. He is a leader that exemplifies through his own actions that a community with heart lends a hand to all in need.”
The awards were presented as part of the LWC’s statewide promotion of community action agencies that provide supportive services to help low-income individuals become or remain self-sufficient.
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