Stories of Resiliency, Equity, and Hope
2021 marks the 57th year since the Community Action Network was established to help minority communities overcome obstacles to poverty. This year, we celebrate Community Action Month honoring families and their stories of perseverance and courage during this disruptive and difficult pandemic year. As we collect, document and share the obstacles families have overcome, lessons learned, transitions and transformations, honoring remarkable tenacity and resilience, we encourage you to Share Your Story!
Stories of Community Strength & Resilience
Dreams for a better life
Rosario Tagre Garcia and her son Stewart came to the U.S. from Guatemala about 2 years ago, escaping violence and poverty in their home country. She began working in construction, and things were going all right in this new life until the pandemic -- when her employer lost multiple job contracts and cut Rosario’s hours. Consequently, while trying to find other employment, her bills started to pile up.
As Stewart turned 4, neighbors told Rosario about the Camp Washington Head Start program, and she reached out to CAA to enroll Stewart in the full-day preschool program. Meanwhile, in the midst of eviction proceedings, Rosario again contacted CAA to negotiate extended time in order to expedite an application for CARES rental assistance so she and Stewart could remain in their home.
Now, with that fundamental stability restored at home and in school, their dreams of a better life can take wing and fly.
A beautiful blessing
All her life, Kristy Turner had always credited herself that she had stood on her own two feet, but the challenges of the pandemic hit her hard – losing a job, out of work for several months, and without transportation to branch out for work prospects that were too far away. Despite her reluctance, she knew she needed to seek assistance for the first time ever.
Not knowing what to expect, she came to CAA for help with rent for her family. She received the emergency assistance that helped her overcome the urgent financial hardship. Surprisingly, what she also got was a restored personal sense of confidence.
“CAA was there when I needed help and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I got the feeling everything was going to be all right,” she reflected. “It helped me out in more ways than one. That was a beautiful blessing, and a blessing for a lot of families when there’s so much going on in their lives.”
As husband and wife, Khyan and Kimico Atkins have always believed they are stronger together, and they took that philosophy to a new level when they decided to take a leap and enter the Tech Works program together. Both had worked in warehouse and mailroom settings for nearly 25 years, and determined education could change the course of their lives. Saying this is a big undertaking is also a big understatement! They felt overwhelmed at times, given the increased demands of work, school and family life we are all experiencing in different ways these days. At the same time, the IT certification credential and the confidence of new opportunities and increased stability kept them pushing forward. Working as a team provided the level of understanding and support and motivation.
Hope for a Health & Stable Life
Vanessa Jackson has always been a hard-working individual, creating a healthy and stable life for herself and her daughter. Due to COVID-19, her regular and overtime hours of work in her career were cut drastically, leading to financial hardship in her household. Despite working through a pandemic, the financial burdens were too heavy. Ever determined, Vanessa turned to CAA for assistance. Thanks to the CARE funding provided by the Hamilton County Commissioners and a CAA Case Manager, she and her daughter could stay safely in their home and keep their utilities turned on.
LaTasha Heisel, a passionate caregiver, a fulltime medical professional, mother of two and a lifelong learner, had her sights on building her Veteran Home Care business one day. Latasha saw a need in the community for aging and disabled veterans, which inspired her to learn more about assistance available -- not only for her grandfather -- but for others caring for veteran family members. She researched programs and services, including transportation, housing, medical services, to learn as much as she could to aid her in caring for grandfather. Latasha wanted to sharpen her business skills, understand how to find resources that will connect her to a support network of advisors and she wanted to learn the full financial risk for the development of Nene’s Angels. “With the help I received from GCMI, they made my idea make sense. GCMI made the learning experience natural and fun; I greatly enjoyed Business I & II and Ice House. Without their guidance none of this would have been possible,” she observed. Nene’s Angels was launched in 2019 as a Certified Residential Home for Cincinnati’s homeless veteran's.
Child Development Is A Life Story
Kimberly Clack is working on her Child Development Associate credential in an online program, while also serving as primary caregiver for her grandchildren, ages 5-8. She loves children and has always wanted to be an educator, inspiring children’s emotional, social and academic growth. Head Start has been central to her own life story, where her children and grandchildren have flourished. One of her grandchildren has learning and nutritional challenges, which were addressed through individualized Head Start services, and as a result of the attention and continuity provided, he is now kindergarten-ready. The positive experience with Head Start has only fueled her educational and professional goals. “I really want to help kids, and don’t want to leave any kids behind,” she says.
COMMUNITY ACTION PROMISE
Show Your Community Action Pride on Social Media! Let your friends and followers on social media know how much your service to your Community Action Agency means to you by sharing our "Community Action Promise" graphics.