Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Growing Gardens and Preserving Produce   no comments

Posted at 9:28 am in News

Pictured: Brenda Cockerham shared the process of preparing produce for preserving to attendees of the virtual workshop.

Expanding access to healthy foods is a long-term goal for the Community Service Block Grant’s Garden Seed Program, and a big part of that comes from preserving the lifespan of food, with or without refrigeration. Not only does the program provide a healthy resource, it’s also a valuable skill set. With gardening becoming more of a necessity to help extend finances and access to healthy foods, so does the ability to preserve the crops produced.

On Monday, August 23, 2021, Big Sandy Area Community Action Program held the Preserving the Garden virtual workshop. The guest speaker for the event was Brenda Cockerham, a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent with the Johnson County Extension Service. Brenda offered her experience with food preparation to extend their shelf life, with techniques including canning, freezing, and drying. Safety was also discussed as what could be potentially hazardous if not done properly.

“The Garden Seed Program is dedicated to helping individuals supplement their income with a healthy solution,” said Alecia Conley-Knox, CSBG Program Manager. “Providing this workshop virtually gave us a safe way to work with partners in our community to assist families in learning the skills needed to feed their families healthy, home-grown foods.”

The video from the workshop is available here on our BSACAP Inc YouTube channel, so those interested in the techniques may view at any time as they look to start their own food preservation projects. More workshops will also be available in the future, so stay tuned to the BSACAP Facebook page for updates, as well as bsacap.org.

To begin your journey into food preservation, publications are available at all county extension service offices.

Funding for the Garden Seed Program is made available by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a vast array of services, such as employment and training assistance, weatherization of homes, and area Head Start programs, in order to assist individuals and families in obtaining self-sufficiency. Through collaborative efforts of community and organizational partnerships, BSACAP seeks to improve the overall quality of life within Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County communities. To learn more about BSACAP and their programs, visit www.bsacap.org, follow them on Facebook, or call the service office in your county.

Written by Kevin Horn on September 16th, 2021

Gearheart Communications Employer Spotlight   no comments

Posted at 10:13 am in News

Written by Kevin Horn on September 10th, 2021

Opportunity Youth Program Offering New Training Opportunities   no comments

Posted at 2:17 pm in News

Written by Kevin Horn on August 31st, 2021

BSACAP’s Model City Head Start Program Receives National Recognition   no comments

Posted at 11:19 am in News

In the past year, the Covid-19 outbreak caused hybrid learning to become the norm, with teachers instructing students in the classroom and virtually. Teachers in Big Sandy Area Community Action Program’s Head Start program have adapted to this new style to great success. The work done by instructors to find new and engaging ways of teaching resulted in over 1,000 students across the Big Sandy Region being able to demonstrate school readiness skills and earned some teachers a national spotlight.

Because of the pandemic, faculty looked to engage students in more fun and interesting ways by creating videos that would entertain as well as teach. During a regular meeting with a program specialist with the Region 4 Head Start office in Atlanta, Georgia, Tracy Jenkins, BSACAP Head

Mercedes Burke, left, and Sarah Ray, pictured on the right, from Model City Head Start had their virtual teaching videos showcased to the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, one of four national training centers.

Start Grantee Director, shared theses videos while giving updates on the prog

ram. The videos began circulating in the Region 4 office, making their way to the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, a national Head Start training center. As a result of their work during the pandemic, Model City Head Start teachers Mercedes Burke and Sarah Ray were recognized for their success at a national symposium.

“There were a lot of negative comments last year about how virtual teaching wasn’t that great and [the specialist in the Region 4 office] wanted to prove there were programs out there that were doing great things,” said Jenkins.

“I had a hard time keeping students interested,” said Burke. “I thought I’d bring some magic into the classroom.” Inspired by not only her students, but by her nephew and the videos he would watch on Youtube, Burke found herself utilizing the skills of “movie magic” to keep students engaged. Using the iMovie app on her iPhone, she was able create the illusion that she magically moved from place to place, providing a visual representation of the subject she was teaching.

Sarah Ray, a lead teacher with Model City Head Start, showcased her skills using the popular app TikTok as well as iMovie. The two allowed for a variety of different effects and scenarios that could be used to teach children in an interactive manner while making it fun. She dressed up as a character named “Pete the Cat” and would play out the scenarios of the book being read. She plans on bringing the character to her in-person classroom.

“[The children] loved the video, even the parents commented that they enjoyed it and thought it was funny,” Ray said. “I did the Pete the Cat video as a funny kind of thing, and I had no idea it would be as big as it was. It had a bigger impression than I thought that it would.”

Burke said the program being nationally recognized was “very unexpected”. “It’s very cool to know, and that it’s us, to have our faces on there. I just wanted to get the kids to laugh and have fun while learning.”

The recognition was felt not just nationally, but also within BSACAP, praising the teachers for their ingenuity and creativity to reach their students in this nontraditional style.

“It’s so simple but so effective” said Jenkins. “I thought it was something that every teacher could use and this is by far better than just sitting and listening to somebody talk.”

BSACAP Executive Director Wanda Thacker said, “We’re very proud of the work these teachers have done to keep their students safe, healthy, and engaged in their education. The last school year was a challenging one for parents, teachers, and children, but the creativity our Head Start teachers have shown and their willingness to go the extra mile for their students is a testament to the love our teachers have for learning and for their students.”

BSACAP’s Head Start is comprised of seven programs operated through local county and city Boards of Education and directly operates the Model City Head Start program. Head Start provides children with an education, preparation for kindergarten, socialization, listening and speaking skills, healthy meals and snacks, vision and hearing tests, assistance with dental and medical needs. To find out more information on enrolling your child in Head Start, call 606-789-1600.

Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a vast array of services, such as employment and training assistance, weatherization of homes, and area Head Start programs, in order to assist individuals and families in obtaining self-sufficiency. Through collaborative efforts of community and organizational partnerships, BSACAP seeks to improve the overall quality of life within Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County communities. To learn more about BSACAP and their programs, visit www.bsacap.org, follow them on Facebook, or call the service office in your county.

Written by Kevin Horn on August 16th, 2021

Job Fair Brings Employers and Jobseekers Together   no comments

Posted at 11:47 am in News

A jobseeker meets with Appalachian Wireless Customer Relations representatives Darlene Howell and Amy Iricks at the “Hire-a-bration” job fair hosted by BSACAP held at the Coal Run Community Center.

Excited to get back in the workforce, employers and applicants met at the Coal Run Community Center on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 seeking new prospects.

The Job Fair was hosted by partner agencies Big Sandy Area Community Action, Kentucky Career Center, and Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program. This was the first in person job fair held by the organizations since October 2019.

“It’s all about trying to get people back to work,” said BSACAP Workforce Services Director Erica Ash. “Everyone that’s been drawing unemployment insurance benefits, been laid off, we’re here to help connect them with employers and get them back in the workforce.”

The fair was the kickoff of EKCEP’s “hire-a-bration” event, which will see similar job fairs across the region in the coming weeks. The organization is planning to host their Annual Fall Mega-Job Fair later in the year, according to BSACAP Career Advisor Joey Osborne.

“Every employer I’ve talked to is looking for somebody,” said Osborne.

Among the employers on sight for the day were Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Pikeville Medical Center, Mountain Enterprises, Inc., Wright Underground Concrete, Appalachian Wireless, TransAmerica Agency Network, and Digital Careers Now. BSACAP Career Advisors were on hand at the event to assist jobseekers in finding the career path they were best suited. Career Advisors can also help people earn credentials, find education and training opportunities, and obtain financial assistance for certain fields.

For area hospitals, such as those in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare system and Pikeville Medical Center, a mix of specialized workers, such as Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses, trade positions, and operation positions, such as food service, clinical personnel, and clerical, are desired. Individuals seeking at home employment were also able to seek information with Digital Careers Now, working with General Dynamic Information Technology, to provide remote positions assisting customers through incoming calls. Initial training for the Customer Service Representative positions will be done in Paintsville, with workers then provided equipment to begin working from home.

BSACAP Career Advisors were also able to provide information on the Team Kentucky Back to Work Incentive Program. To help with the current rate of unemployment in the state, Governor Andy Beshear created the program. Those aged 18 and older who have been displaced from their previous employer and rejoin the workforce between June 24, 2021 and July 30, 2021 will be eligible for a $1,500 incentive payment. Applications will be open beginning August 2, 2021 and close October 1, 2021. The program is available to the first 15,000 deemed qualifying and is not guaranteed.

For more upcoming hiring events or to speak to a Career Advisor, visit bsacap.org/wioa, call (606) 789-2857, or email CareerHelp@bsacap.org.

Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a vast array of services, such as employment and training assistance, weatherization of homes, and area Head Start programs, in order to assist individuals and families in obtaining self-sufficiency. Through collaborative efforts of community and organizational partnerships, BSACAP seeks to improve the overall quality of life within Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County communities. To learn more about BSACAP and their programs, visit www.bsacap.org, follow them on Facebook, or call the service office in your county.

Written by Kevin Horn on July 21st, 2021

Electric bill payment assistance open for summer   no comments

Posted at 10:09 am in News

Big Sandy Area Community Action Program will be taking applications for the Summer Cooling portion of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) now through October 29, 2021. The Summer Cooling portion of LIHEAP offers payment assistance for electric bills on a first come, first serve basis until funds are exhausted.

The household income limit will be 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. All income eligible households are encouraged to apply.

150% of the federal poverty limit is a gross monthly household income of $1,610 for a one-person household, $2,177.50 for a two-person household, $2,745 for a three-person household, $3,312.50 for a four-person household, and $3,880 for a five-person household.

The agency will be able to provide some amount of assistance to income eligible households regardless of their bill payment status. “If you are up-to-date on your electric bill, have a past due notice, a disconnect notice, or an eviction notice if your electric is included in your rent, we will be able to offer you some type of assistance,” said Executive Director Wanda Thacker.

She explained further that taking advantage of the Summer Cooling portion of the program would not affect a household’s ability to qualify for future seasons and cycles of the program. “If a household is still income eligible in the fall or winter, they will still be able to get help then, even if they’ve received Summer Cooling funds.”

Applications will be completed by appointment and over the phone or through electronic communication. Appointments can be made over the phone by calling (606) 887-1441 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or online by visiting www.bsacap.org/bookings.

Individuals seeking assistance must meet income eligibility requirements and be able to provide the following information:

  1. Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence (Green Card) for EACH member of the household. In order to receive assistance you MUST bring EVERY Social Security Number or Permanent Residence (Green Card) for each member.
  2. Proof of ALL household’s (ALL MEMBERS) income from previous month.
  3. Most CURRENT heating bill, statement from your landlord if heating expenses are included in rent, statement from utility company if you participate in Pre-Pay Electric Program.
  4. The ACCOUNT NUMBER and NAME on the account for ALL heating fuel sources and electric.

Documentation can be provided electronically by uploading pictures of your documents on the appointment booking webpage or by fax. Agency staff will work with you to determine the best method for your household.

All vouchers are paid directly to the primary electric vendor with no funds being distributed directly to the applicant household.

LIHEAP is funded through Community Action Kentucky (CAK), the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Written by Sarah Hill on July 12th, 2021

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Community Advocate, Academic Scholarships available to students   no comments

Posted at 11:35 am in News

Each year Big Sandy Area Community Action Program (BSACAP) distributes over $7,000 in scholarships to students in the Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County area. The nonprofit organization will be offering ten $500 academic scholarships and one $2,000 Eula Hall Community Advocate Scholarship. Scholarships are funded through the Community Service Block Grant.

The Eula Hall Community Advocate Scholarship is offered to students majoring in Social Work, Human Services, Public Services, or related fields. Applicants must be in at least their third year of post-secondary study, must have a record of volunteerism, and must fulfill the requirements of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Scholarship application.

Eula Hall, who passed away last month, lived her life as an advocate for the workers, children, and families of the region. She served with the Volunteers in Service to America, the Appalachian Volunteers, the East Kentucky Worker’s Rights Organization, and as president of the Kentucky Black Lung Association. She established the Mud Creek Clinic in 1973 to serve uninsured and underinsured people. The Mud Creek Clinic, now known at the Eula Hall Health Center, offers general clinic care, pharmacy, dental care, optometry, mental health services, patient transportation, public benefits guidance, and a food pantry. She served on the BSACAP Board of Directors for nearly 40 years.

BSACAP Executive Director Wanda Thacker said, “Eula Hall’s service to our organization and the service and leadership she gave to the people in our area is a shining example of what people in eastern Kentucky are capable of when they put their minds to it. The Community Advocate Scholarship is one way that we can ensure that Eula’s legacy continues, and we see a new generation of strong advocates for eastern Kentucky rise up and continue the fight against poverty.”

BSACAP will also be offering ten $500 CSBG Academic Scholarship to students in the area.

If you are a student entering or returning to college or vocational school this fall and are in need of financial assistance, you may be eligible for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Academic Scholarship.

Applicants must provide the following information and/or documentation to apply for the scholarship:
• Meet income eligibility as determined by the Federal Poverty Guidelines
• Provide proof of residency within the BSACAP service area via utility bill or piece of first class mail postmarked within 30 days of application
• Complete and sign an application available online or through staff
• Complete a Family Profile according to CSBG guidelines (Please contact a staff member to complete this portion via telephone)
• Provide proof of a high school diploma or GED
• Provide proof of cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better from last semester of high school or last completed semester of college
• Provide two letters of reference
• Provide proof of enrollment or acceptance in a post-secondary educational institution for the Fall 2021 semester/term
• Write an essay on why they feel they should receive the award

Applicants who have earned a 4-year degree or are pursuing education levels of Master’s Degree and above are not eligible. BSACAP staff and family members of staff are not eligible to apply.

For further information or to get an application, applicants may contact the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program staff in their county via telephone or by emailing csbg@bsacap.org. Applications will be available online at www.bsacap.org/scholarships. Completed applications and required documentation must be received by mail no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 25, 2021. Scholarships will be awarded no later than July 30, 2021.

Office hours are 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Office numbers are as follows:
• Floyd County – (606) 874-3595
• Johnson County – (606) 789-6515
• Magoffin County –(606) 349-2217
• Martin County – (606) 298-3217
• Pike County – (606) 432-2775

Scholarship funding is made possible by Community Services Block Grant with funds made available by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Written by Sarah Hill on June 1st, 2021

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Condolences for Eula Hall   no comments

Posted at 9:52 am in News

It is with great sorrow that we share the news that our longtime board member, mentor, and friend Eula Hall has passed. Eula served on the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program Board of Directors for nearly 40 years and as a guiding light for eastern Kentucky her entire life.

Eula’s life of service was built on the foundational belief that all people are equally worthy of respect and care. She was a pioneer for health in eastern Kentucky and a staunch advocate for the poor. Through the years she picketed at coal mines for better treatment for the workers, pushed for laws to aid suffers of black lung, raised thousands of dollars to bring medical services to her community, ensured that the people of Mud Creek have clean water to drink, and even gave money from her own pocket for food or medicine for people in need. Eula saved lives and thousands of people have better health and a better chance to reach their potential because of her.

Among the many accolades Eula received in her life, she was awarded the 2018 Altha Jo Hamilton Volunteer Award from Community Action Kentucky for her service to our organization and her lifetime of fighting back against poverty. Our agency offers the Eula Hall Community Advocate Scholarship, named in her honor. The college scholarship is meant both to encourage the next generation of community advocates and to commemorate the life and work of an amazing woman.

In an interview, when asked how best to be an advocate, Eula said, “A lot of times a good word is what somebody needs, a good word or a good deed. They need somebody. They need somebody to care.” Her willingness to speak truth to power and her no-nonsense approach to improving the lives of others has been an inspiration to all who knew her. We are privileged to have known her, served alongside her, and called her our friend.

Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to her family. Eula was a gift to eastern Kentucky and we are grateful to have shared in her life with you.

 

Written by Sarah Hill on May 10th, 2021

Garden Seed voucher program signups April 7-23   no comments

Posted at 10:38 am in News

Sign-ups for Big Sandy Area Community Action Program’s annual Garden Seed Program will be taken on a first come, first serve basis April 7 – April 23, or until funds are exhausted.

The Garden Seed Program offers qualifying low-income households $40 in vouchers to purchase seeds, plants, and fertilizer at local vendors so that area families can build a food-bearing garden at their home. The program is open to residents of Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties. Clients grow and maintain their gardens by themselves and are able to reap the fruits of their labor.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency will be operating the program a little bit differently than in years past. To apply for the program, you can book an appointment online by visiting www.bsacap.org/appointments or over the telephone by calling (606) 887-1441.

BSACAP staff will contact those who booked an appointment for the program in order to complete their application.

To be eligible for the program, a household must:

  • Meet income eligibility guidelines
  • Provide proof of income from the previous month
  • Provide the social security numbers for all household members
  • Provide a metered utility bill to verify their address

Documentation can be uploaded online at www.bsacap.org/appointments, or by emailing CSBG@bsacap.org. If you do not have internet access, you can arrange with the staff member who contacts you to drop your documentation off at your local BSACAP office.

Last year, over 240 households in the BSACAP service area of Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike counties received garden seed vouchers. This year, the agency is excited to announce that they will be able to make vouchers available to over 500 households thanks to a generous grant from the Pallottine Foundation of Huntington, WV. Through the support of transformative health initiatives that empower all individuals to lead lives of optimal health, self-reliance, and self-respect, the Pallottine Foundation of Huntington strives to foster systemic change and collaborative impact across the tri-state area.

This program is funded, in part, by the Community Services Block Grant made available by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a generous grant from the Pallottine Foundation of Huntington, WV.

Written by Sarah Hill on April 1st, 2021

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Paying for College   no comments

Posted at 10:58 am in News

Written by Sarah Hill on March 31st, 2021

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