May is National Community Action Month, an annual event that aims to recognize the importance of community action agencies in promoting economic and social justice for low-income individuals and families nationwide. Community action agencies are nonprofit organizations that provide a range of services to help low-income individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life.
The theme of National Community Action Month varies from year to year, but the overarching goal is to promote the mission and values of community action agencies. This includes promoting self-sufficiency, empowering individuals and families, and addressing the root causes of poverty.
One of the key goals of National Community Action Month is to engage with policymakers and other stakeholders to advocate for policies that support the work of community action agencies. This includes advocating for funding to support the programs and services provided by community action agencies, as well as policies that address the root causes of poverty, such as affordable housing, access to healthcare, and education.
National Community Action Month is also an opportunity for community action agencies to recognize the achievements of their clients and staff.
There are more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies in the United States. Ohio is home to nearly 90 Community Action Agencies statewide, including Step Forward, which is the state’s designated anti-poverty agency for Cuyahoga County. The agency is the one of the largest Community Action Agencies in Ohio.
Step Forward serves more than 25,000 individuals and families every year. The agency's mission is to help low-income individuals and families address immediate needs and build long-term skills to transform their lives through early childhood education programs like Early Head Start and Head Start, personal development programs like Baby and Mommy Support, counseling and Anger Management, professional development services including adult skills training and employment connection and emergency assistance such as the Home Energy Assistance Program.
There are several ways the public can support their nearest Community Action Agency:
Donate: Donations help agencies like Step Forward provide the best services to the community
Spread the word: Help agencies like Step Forward connect with residents in need and keep up to date with services on social media
Join our team: Check out open and available positions or volunteer
Supporting your local Community Action Agency is important to address social and economic issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger and unemployment, promote community involvement, provide essential services to those in need and to help empower individuals and families.
To donate to Step Forward and its mission, click here.