Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc.
-Committed to equal opportunity, and providing services and advocacy to Alabama children and families in need since 1954
Annual Report of the
Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc
For March 1, 2014 through February 28, 2015
FROM THE CEO
This has been an interesting and challenging year, and the coming year may be even more so. This year for this report we will put the biggest news first. For several years our strategic plan has included finding a better facility for our central office, or else doing major repairs to the central office. In addition, we now are in an era when we feel it is no longer safe to have our centers open so that anyone who wants to can walk in. We take very seriously our responsibility for not only the education but also the safety of our Head Start and Early Head Start children while they are in our care. To that end, our Head Start grant objectives have included adding a key card system at Edelman Center like the one at Darden and also finding a way to better secure our Auburn classrooms which are in a public building that we cannot secure. Also on our strategic plan list has been improvement of some of our playgrounds.
The Alabama Council board and some of its staff have hunted for years and worked intensively over that last few months to find a suitable location that the ACHR could purchase and with relatively few changes make ready for staff and children. These goals have finally been accomplished -- well, at least they have been put in motion. We are pleased to announce that ACHR has purchased a vacant church property at 950 Shelton Mill Road in Auburn that, according to inspections, is in good condition. We must move quickly in order to have everything ready for children to enter this fall. In addition to moving our central office staff, we also plan to move our Auburn emergency services unit (energy assistance, housing counseling, weatherization, etc.) to the new facility
We have already arranged to rework the playground to make it safe and suitable for 3-5 year old children; arranged purchase of new classroom furnishings because the rooms are shaped differently than the current rooms and in addition most of the current furniture is getting beyond its usefulness; arranged to have cameras installed in the classrooms and halls of the Head Start area along with an intercom system; arranged for a key card system so that only designated persons can get into the building and most importantly into the classroom area; planned and arranged to put in the required phone and internet services including computers for each classroom; and planned and arranged to increase the size of the kitchen and add some items such as a proper vent system so that the kitchen will be able to serve the number of children in the facility and will meet Health Department food service standards. The classroom areas already have individual bathrooms attached to classrooms. That means that soon all three of our centers will have classrooms with bathrooms suitable for children directly accessible from each room. This sounds minor, but it is a great help to the flow of a classroom day not to have to escort groups of 7-11 children down the hall to the bathroom several times each day (to meet standards this requires two adults), and then to have to call the office for escorts for the children who have sudden toilet needs.
We have planned the new office areas, who will be where and who will use which entrance (there are several). Now if the, vendors, deliveries, persons who have agreed to do the work and the weather will all cooperate . . . .
Oh, and to help meet expenses in a larger facility, ACHR already has contracted with a local church that needs a big auditorium, which we now have. The auditorium is a nice one, and it seemed a shame for it to sit unused most of the time. The church understands our need to keep things that are of a religious nature separate from our world; they will have space to store what they need. They want the use of the auditorium on Sundays and late afternoons and evenings on Wednesdays, and also the use of two rooms, which we are able to share. Our staff will be able to use the auditorium on other days for training events that require a large space and for other activities. This availability will help our Educators have more time for educating staff. They have been using the auditorium at the community center, but that facility is in use every evening by various other groups. That means that the educators had to move all tables and materials every afternoon and put it all back every morning of training weeks. What a lot of work! They will still have to shift their things sometimes to accommodate the needs of the church on Wednesday evenings, but this will be a considerable saving of time and effort for them. We are looking forward to having a good relationship and perhaps even a partnership with this group.
During this year, we were able for the first time to obtain exempt status from sales tax. This involved obtaining a resolution from every governmental entity in Lee County. Exemption was granted by all three. This process will have to be done annually. However, it will be a great help to the agency in being able to purchase more goods within the budget.
During this year, both Head Start and the Community Services Block grant had a renewed focus on governance. Administrative staff spent a large amount of time reviewing our procedures, our documentation, and our actions related to governance to assure that all required elements are in place and timely. The requirements include such activities as reviews and reports to the board on the Strategic Plan, having and timely review of a Risk Management Plan, adding required elements to our Community Assessment, seeing that the Board and Policy Council receive required documents, and so forth.
The usual work of revisions to our parent manual, our community resources manual, job descriptions, brochures, and various procedures (this year with a focus on Health and Safety and Governance) took place during the year, as did revision to the process for the Criminal Background Check in our state, which is required for licensing, because the state process changed again.
We did not have a formal Risk Management Assessment and Plan and administrative staff was researching to see how we should proceed. A core group of ACHR SEACAA (Southeastern Community Action Association) certified staff attends an annual "graduate" training. At the training in December of 2014, just before the training formally started, one of our staff asked the trainer a question about finding information on Risk Management. Because only ACHR staff happened to be present, the trainer asked if the group wanted to change the topic to Risk Management. This was agreed on, and by the end of the two-day training, staff knew how to do a Risk Management Assessment and Plan and better yet, had one in hand all but ready to present to the board. This was especially useful because the staff there represented several areas and levels within the agency. Staff who worked on the Risk Management Plan was firm in the need to further revise the paperwork portion of our hiring process to assure that we have all documentation required (35 forms including those required by the federal government, the State of Alabama and the Department of Human Resources!)
Other items of note during this year in no particular order:
· ACHR Housing was awarded a new apartment deal for a 52-unit complex for the elderly; Grace Point will be located in Auburn next door to Grace Ridge. Teaming with the Bennett Group, the process to get the project up and running has begun.
· Our partner church Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, where our community garden is housed, held a Community Health Fair which included workshops on diabetes and obesity and various health screenings. During that Fair flyers were given out about a rally in Montgomery to support expansion of Medicaid as well as a petition to be signed for the expansion of Medicaid.
· Many youth have been involved in the Lee County Community Garden, which was a learning experience for all.
· Youth were involved in Babysitter Certification and Pediatric CPR through a Red Cross course designed to teach youth how to babysit safely and also to make their first steps toward becoming an entrepreneur (business owner).
· Two staff members participated in the process to become ROMA trainers and both received certification. Having access to a ROMA trainer is a Community Services Block Grant requirement.
· The Fiscal Coordinator and the Programs Coordinator attended two trainings on the new Super Circular which as replaced older fiscal regulations, and we will need to revise more procedures.
Also of note, our part-time Registered Dietician, Natalie Stephens, received an award as the Alabama's Outstanding Young Dietician of the Year at the March 15, 2014 Alabama Dietetic Association Conference. She believes that it is because unlike many of her peers who go into clinical, she has gone into community nutrition. We are very pleased for her and glad to have her on our staff.
As always, we are very appreciative of our staff members who have worked hard on behalf of families and children. We are also appreciative of our Board and Policy Council members and the guidance they give. Thank you to each person who volunteered for your efforts on behalf of children and families. We could not have provided children, families and clients with the needed services without the volunteers who contributed time, ideas and energy to the program.
We look forward to the coming year, even though it includes many uncertainties and challenges.
The Alabama Council on Human Relations (ACHR), Inc., is a private non-profit organization funded exclusively for educational and eleemosynary (charitable) purposes. The goal of ACHR is the promotion and implementation of programs that improve economic conditions, education, and racial relationships for all people, resulting in increased self-sufficiency and overall improvement in their quality of life.
ACHR, incorporated in 1954, has provided Head Start (HS) services in Lee County since 1965 and in much of rural Russell County (excluding Phenix City) since 1992. Early Head Start also is provided in both counties. In addition to HS and EHS, in FY 2013-14 ACHR administered other programs, including the Alabama Coalition Against Hunger (ACAH), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (serving daycare homes), housing counseling, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), and LIHEAP (Low Income Heating Assistance Program), which offers energy counseling and assistance with payment of energy bills. ACHR also offers low-income housing at its 11 housing complexes in eight counties, and is a Community Housing Development Organization certified in 31 of Alabama’s 67 counties. ACHR is Lee County’s designated Community Services Block Grant program provider.
ACHR’s Early Head Start (EHS) program, which started in 1998, is an essential part of the agency’s overall program. It is widely recognized that the years from conception to age three are vital to growth and development. EHS families are provided ways to enrich their child’s development and to ensure a support system for both the child and primary caregiver.
ACHR has three centers offering services to children, two in Lee County and one in rural Russell County. Darden Center in Opelika is the largest center, with 11 HS classrooms and five EHS classrooms, as well as a school-aged class serving 15-18 school-aged children (mostly siblings of HS/EHS children or former HS children) who come to the center for after school and summer care.
The Darden campus includes Darden on the Hill, which houses the Sunshine Shop (where donated goods are accepted, stored and displayed for convenient, easy access by HS/EHS families) and office space for EHS home visitors and a socialization area for the 40 home-based infants, toddlers and pregnant women/teens served by the home visitors in Lee Country. There is also an emergency services building which provides space for the intake for the energy assistance program and for weatherization.
At Boykin Community Center, which is owned by the City of Auburn, ACHR has six HS classrooms, as well as energy assistance services and weatherization offices. Boykin Center also houses several non-ACHR programs, including Joyland Day Care Center, part of Auburn Day Care Center, and a program for the elderly.
The Marian Wright Edelman Center, located in Hurtsboro in rural Russell County, houses four HS and three EHS classrooms, as well as offices and socialization space for home visitors for 48 EHS infants, children and/or pregnant women.
In addition to those centers, ACHR has a central office building in Auburn (about a mile from Boykin Center), which provides space for administrative, fiscal, secretarial, and other agency support functions, and some auxiliary facilities, such as a garage to service agency buses and other vehicles.
The ACHR-CDP was funded to serve 424 HS and 152 EHS children in 2013-14. At any given time, the Head Start program served 414 HS children (ages 3-5 years); EHS center-based classrooms served 64 infants and toddlers (ages 4 weeks to three years) who were the children of parents working or in school and another 88 children and/or mothers-to-be were served in a home-based setting. Home Visitors visited each home-based parent and child once a week and, together with the parent, provided the full array of EHS or HS services. In addition, mothers of children who are home visited were invited into the center once every two weeks for a “socialization” visit. The moms had small group meetings and learned from each other; the children began to learn to play with other children. Transportation to these events was offered to those who needed it.
During 2013-14 due to the normal drops and adds HS served 485 preschoolers in 453 families. Twenty six of the children were in the program fewer than 45 days and some others not much beyond that. In spite of our best efforts, attendance was right at 85%. Children cannot learn when they are not present, so we will continue to focus this coming year on encouraging parents to send their children regularly. Approximately 82% of the need was served in rural Russell County and approximately 80% of the need was served in Lee County.
During the same period, EHS served 28 pregnant women and 180 infants and toddlers in 152 families. Only 4 infants and toddlers were in the program fewer than 45 days. Attendance was right at 85%, which for infants and toddlers is good, given that when children are first in the centers they tend to "catch" whatever is going around and we strongly discourage parents from bringing children who are ill to the center. This is approximately 60% of the need in rural Russell County but only about 40% of the need in Lee County.
During the last school year all of the children who were enrolled more than 45 days received medical screenings and, if needed, follow-up; 98% of the children were up-to date on receiving age-appropriate preventive care; 440 HS-aged children (96% of all those enrolled at any time) and some of the older EHS children received dental exams and preventative care. Last year, Dr. George Liles, a pediatric dentist in Auburn, again came to Darden, our largest center to do dental exams and then, over a period of time at his office he provided treatment for the children who needed it. Most of the children truly love him. For several years, children at the smaller two centers have been provided dental services by two dentists in Tuskegee unless their parents prefer to take them to another dentist.
Staff successfully encouraged many HS parents to take their children for follow up appointments for dental treatment and some took their children for dental exams. Staff will continue in this effort, which more firmly establishes an ongoing “dental home” for the children. Because of the combined efforts of the dentists, the children’s parents and our staff, 96% or all but two of the children who needed dental treatment received it (parents refused care for varying reasons and some would not be persuaded).
Preparing Children for School
For more than 35 years, the ACHR-CDP has used the HighScope Curriculum in its efforts to have children ready for school. This approach takes each child at his/her level and works to build knowledge using the child’s interests and strengths. All learning areas required by Office of Head Start including Social Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Approaches to Learning, Cognition, and Language and Literacy are embedded in children’s everyday activities. The curriculum approach is developmentally appropriate and is tailored for children ages birth through five years.
In addition to regular activities at the center, resource visitors come to classrooms to enrich children's experiences. Parents, professionals, and community helpers are among those who volunteer their time to make presentations and share experiences with the preschool children. Classroom staff members take children on field trips to visit businesses/community resources such as police and fire departments, museums, farms/stables and other sites around our area and Auburn University. It is amazing what pre-school children can learn from these visits and field trips and how much fun they can have in the process. Teachers talk, talk, talk with the children about the coming visit, during the visit, and after the visit to stretch children's knowledge and vocabulary.
We encourage parents to do much the same thing with their own children as part of our school readiness parent program called RAGS (Reading, Activities and Growth for Success). A routine visit to the grocery store can be changed from an event that is frustrating for parent and child into a learning “adventure” that helps increase vocabulary, sentence length, ability to follow directions, math skills and self-regulation. The same child who was bored and crying can be enlisted to help find a can of green peas for dinner and the box with the big “K” on it for breakfast. Parents are asked to take a few moments during visits to stores to say things like: “The peas are in a can with a green label. Can you find it?” “Look one shelf higher.” And: “Good find! Please put it in the cart.” Of course, as a child gets better at this game, we encourage parents to make the skills progressively more challenging. (“Please put the can in the cart beside the corn and beans. Now we have three cans.”) Repeated over a period of time, these “adventures” make a difference in a child’s skills including those needed for school readiness.
Teachers make frequent observation of children and place them into each child’s Child Observation Record (COR) to track each child’s progress towards school readiness goals and to know when to help a child stretch for the next level. In addition, considerable attention is focused on social skills and self-regulation in an effort to have the children ready to fit into a kindergarten classroom. We are pleased to be partnering with the Psychological Services Department at Auburn University in this effort. They provide a variety of activities in the classrooms using an adaptation of the Stop and Think social skills curriculum. Additionally our educators have been training the teaching staff in the Conscious Discipline curriculum and its implementation. The program has provided staff new ways to improve classroom management and assist children in developing self-regulation and other skills that help them to be connected, cooperative, and helpful members of a classroom family.
In 2014-2015 we continued our partnership with the Lee County School System to provide services for children with special needs in typically developing classrooms. This year, because of continuing needs in the Lee County area, the number of cooperative classrooms remained at four classes in Smiths Station and one in Loachapoka. All services that the Lee County Schools and the ACHR-CDP provide their children were provided to the children in these five classrooms. This setting provided this group of children with access to the special services they needed while being in a preschool environment. We feel that it also broadened the horizons of the typically developing children who were in those classrooms.
ACHR-CDP SCHOOL READINESS REPORT for PROGRAM YEAR 2014-2015
ACHR CDP’s school readiness goals were developed using Office of Head Start (OHS) requirements, curriculum guidelines, alignments with state standards for four-year- olds/Alabama Early Learning Guidelines, local school expectations, and staff and parent input. School readiness goals are statements that articulate knowledge and skills needed by infants/toddlers prior to preschool and for preschool children prior to entering kindergarten. These goals address social and emotional development, language and literacy, physical development and health, approaches to learning, and cognitive development including general knowledge, mathematics, and science.
At ACHR, progress towards school readiness goals is measured through the HighScope Child Observation Record (COR) known as the COR Advantage assessment tool, and through teacher logs, photographs, and data collection such as samples of children’s work.
The COR Advantage is a seamless birth through the end of kindergarten assessment tool. Categories and items on the COR align with state standards, Common Core standards and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The tool is used at ACHR by both Early Head Start and Head Start. Because the tool is seamless, it allows for scoring all children, whether typically developing, with special needs, or exceptional.
Teaching staff and home visitors collect data on an ongoing basis to determine how well children are progressing across the required OHS five essential domains: Physical Development and Health, Social and Emotional Development, Approaches to Learning, Language and Literacy, and Cognition and General Knowledge. To the extent possible, teaching staff assess dual language learners in the child's home language across all domains by communicating with parents/translators, and assess the children's increasing proficiency in learning English.
Teaching staff/home visitors gather and monitor the continuous progress of each child through means such as anecdotal notes, skill logs, portfolios, writing and art samples, formal observations by other professionals, parental input through family contacts, service provider reports, photographs, videos, and Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) progress reports. Children show gains in the COR Advantage by moving to the next skill level of each objective. Possible scores for each objective are the same, ranging from 0-7.
Assessment data is used to plan develop lesson plans and activities for all children and individualized instruction and activities for each child. ACHR has set scoring goals for child outcomes for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds in EHS, and for 4-year-olds in HS, who are kindergarten-bound. The final gain is measured from the fall assessment benchmark to the spring benchmark.
Data is aggregated by classroom/home-based location, center, and program level three times per year – November, March, and June. For EHS, which runs full year, a fourth time period of data is collected and analyzed. At each point, the education leadership team studies the child outcome averages across domains for the total program to identify any school readiness areas where children are not progressing as expected. Next, the team looks at the distribution of scores to examine the variability of children's progress. Subgroups of children (e.g., grouped by age, gender, home language, IEP status) are compared for disparities so that if any exist the program can work to help these children in ways that may result in furthering their school readiness.
At the midpoint analysis, progress towards school readiness goals is assessed and reported to teaching staff, program administration, the school readiness advisory committee, parent policy council/parents and the ACHR board. Training time is used to assist teachers/home visitors in understanding their data and how they can maximize children’s progress moving forward. The school readiness committee meets to discuss the program’s progress towards school readiness goals and to advise the program on school readiness issues from many perspectives.
Education team members assist teaching teams in analyzing this classroom data using classroom level COR reports and other indicators. The teaching teams use the analysis to refine their planning process for each child and groups of children, and as a guide to set professional goals. COR reports are also used as part of the process for determining staff’s group and individual professional development needs.
After the last aggregation/analysis period is completed, the results for the program year are discussed by the school readiness advisory committee and shared with stakeholders. The ACHR education and administrative teams use the results to plan for continued program operations, possible program improvements, professional development needs, and possible purchases of resources to support specific school readiness goals for the upcoming program year.
School Readiness Results for Head Start 2014-2015
· The average beginning COR score for all typically developing 4-5 yr old children was 3.2
· The mid-point COR scores had moved up, indicating growth. Overall the ACHR score for 4-5 yr olds went from 3.2 to 3.86.
· At the end point of the school year, the COR scores had moved up even more. The average score for all ACHR 4-yr old children was 4.92, indicating that, on average, HS children had exceeded ACHR’s school readiness goals.
· Between September and May, ACHR 4-5 yr old children’s overall developmental score levels had increased 53.75%.
As per HS philosophy, we take children from where they are and help them to move forward toward our school readiness goals. Our data show that we are doing that.
ACHR’s goal for children going on to kindergarten is an average of a 4.5. In 2013-2014 program year these children attained an average 4.92 or 109% of the goal.
Head Start School Readiness Achievement by COR Advantage Categories:
Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Language, Literacy andCommunication, Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.
� 4-5 yr old children’s COR Advantage category scores indicated gains in all categories at each collection point. HS exceeded its school readiness goal of 4.5 in all eight COR Advantage Categories including Approaches to learning, Social/Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Language/Literacy/Communication, Mathematics, Creative Arts, & Social Studies by achieving an average of 4.92 or 109% of goal.
Head Start School Readiness Achievement: Other Head Start Data Collected
· Typically developing children going on to kindergarten knew an average of
0 19 uppercase letters
0 15 lowercase letters
0 13 Letter sounds
0 12 different numerals
0 8 shapes
0 10 colors
· Portfolios of children’s work samples and photos from across the year were completed and given to parents at the last parent-teacher conference
· Two developmental summary reports from ongoing assessment were created and shared with parents in HS. This included a mid-year and end of the year report using COR Advantage information and software.
· 87% of children going on to kindergarten could write their first names.
School Readiness Results for Early Head Start 2014-2015
The process used for gathering, analyzing, and using developmental growth data in EHS is the same as that used in HS. The COR Advantage is the primary tool for tracking ongoing infant-toddler growth and development. The principal goal is for children to be progressing steadily and to be ready to transition into preschool after turning three years old.
Children in EHS showed steady growth in 2014-2015. Below is a sample of the 3-year-old group and their progress during the periods of 2013-2014.
ACHR’s goal for older toddlers who will go on to HS or preschool is an average of a 2.85. In 2014-2015 program year these children attained an average 3.18 or 111.5% of the goal.
Early Head Start School Readiness Achievement by COR Advantage Categories:
Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Language, Literacy and Communication, Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.
The Older Toddler’s COR Advantage category scores indicated gains in all categories at each collection point.
EHS exceeded its goal of 2.85 in all eight learning areas for older toddlers including Approaches to Learning, Social/Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Science & Technology. We also exceeded this goal in all 34 COR items.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES
Parents are very important to us - and to their children's readiness for school. Parents who are elected by other parents to serve on a Policy Council give input to our program in many ways. During the 2014-2015 year, parents were invited to quarterly parent meetings, had at least four opportunities to visit with their child’s teacher during home and center visits, and were invited to meetings on special topics.
Staff makes a special effort to work with the fathers (or “father-figures” such as uncles, grandfathers, etc.). Most months we offer a Reading with Dads event. The children’s fathers or other special men in their lives are invited to the centers sometimes to have breakfast and always to learn something about child development or literacy and then read or do activities with their children in the classrooms. During 2014-2015, 92 HS and/or EHS children’s fathers or father figures came to one or more special events at the centers. In addition to attending the special father activities, some came to other parent activities, such as the Edelman Center’s spring fling.
ACHR PROGRAMS OTHER THAN E/HS
ACHR is Lee County’s designated Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) provider. CSBG funds assist, extend and strengthen a variety of programs and make it possible for the agency to provide services that otherwise could not be provided.
CSBG assists with funding for many programs, including housing counseling and the gardening projects mentioned below.
Through CSBG funds we were able to provide assistance to persons who had emergency needs. This included air conditioning or heating units for elderly persons who had none working and car repair for individuals needing their vehicle to get to work, but unable to afford the repair as well as emergency dental and medical care for which there was no other funding.
The year before last, through CSBG funds, because of a 10% up-tick in self-reported obesity by clients completing our community assessment survey, we started a new program we named "LIFE" (Learning Information about Food and Exercise) to help participants living with low income improve their overall health and maintain or decrease their weight. Our Registered Dietician provides weigh-ins, individualized diet counseling, and a low-impact aerobic exercise program. Some participants check-in by phone, others in person.
In addition to HS, EHS and CSBG, ACHR administers other programs designed to assist families living with low incomes in Lee County and, in some cases, in other areas of Alabama.
· has the Alabama Coalition Against Hunger (ACAH), with a current emphasis on community gardens in Lee and Russell Counties, with the Lee County project a collaboration with several churches and with youth involvement.
· provides training and reimbursement for qualified meals to approximately 40 day care home providers serving more than 300 children in four counties through the Child & Adult Care Food Program;
· is a Department of Housing and Urban Development-certified Housing Counseling Agency and offers housing counseling to residents with problems with mortgages, tenant/landlord relations, etc. and through Emergency Food and Shelter Funds can provide limited assistance to those who qualify;
· is a certified Community Housing Development Organization in 31 of Alabama’s 67 counties and has built 11 low-income housing complexes in eight counties. Grace Point in Auburn is being built, which will be the 12th complex, and another complex is being planned.
· assesses and then contracts to weatherize homes (including mobile homes) for home owners who qualify;
· is a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program participant;
· provides energy counseling and assistance with energy bills through LIHEAP, and the Alabama Charitable Trust. In this fiscal year, 2,162 families received assistance through regular LIHEAP and another 771 though LIHEAP crisis.
Head Start/Early Head Start
The Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc. received funding from Health and Human Services in the amount of $6,103,356 to fund its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. In addition, because Head Start/Early Head Start programs are required to have a 20% match, we must find “match” or “in-kind,” which can be goods or services donated that of benefit to the program within the community in the amount of $1,525,841.
The pie chart that follows shows the percentages of funds spent in key areas for the HS/EHS programs.
Funding for Other Programs
Funds in the amount of $467,197 were awarded by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to provide meals for children. CACFP serving family
day care homes in four counties received $384,410 The City of Opelika provided
$20,000 to assist with extended day/year care for children of working parents.
In combination with funding through the state voucher program and parent fees on
a sliding scale, the City of Opelika funding allowed us to provide before and/or
after school and summer care for approximately 100 children of mothers who were
working or in school.
At this writing, we expect our budget and expenditure in all grant areas for the coming year to be similar to that in the past year.
The independent audit done by an outside Certified Public Accountant on ACHR programs for the 2014-15 year resulted in no audit findings. In addition, various programs including Community Services Block Grant, Child and Adult Care Feeding Program, , LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program), and Weatherization were audited during this year and while there were a few things to respond to, there were no significant findings.
DONORS AND BENEFACTORS (In-Kind)
In addition to grant funding, federal requirements state that HS/EHS programs must match the federal grant funds on an 80-20 basis. Therefore, in-kind is essential to the continuation of our federal funding to allow us provide HS/EHS services. Many generous individuals and companies have donated goods (everything from toys to dryers) that have helped the program in various ways.
Just as important is the value of the help provided by our many volunteers. Last year, more than 300 volunteers contributed their time. We are appreciative of each and every one of our volunteers. And we are very appreciative of volunteer groups, such as the Auburn University psychological services students (who provided developmental screenings and social skills activities in the classrooms), Focus First students (who provided vision screenings), nursing students (who provided education about a variety of topics in the areas of health/nutrition/dental/safety), members of the local Kiwanis Clubs (who came three times during the year to read books to the children that the children had picked and then gave a copy of the book to the child to become their very own book!), and Auburn University cheerleaders (who provided a pep rally in one center). Many individual volunteers came to assist in other ways including helping us organize the Sunshine Shop which provided donated goods at no cost to Head Start/Early Head Start families. Goods are also sometimes given to families who have emergencies, such as those recovering from fires or storm damage.
We cannot name them all, but do want to offer our sincere thanks to the many, many volunteers who have given of their time and talents this year to help our children, their families and our program. It is no exaggeration to say that without their help, not only would our program not be the quality it is, we would not have a program.
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