Donors Choose Is a Win-Win for Everybody

Jennifer Simpson Serves Teaching Staff as DonorsChoose Advocate

Decatur City Center Director Jennifer Simpson was selected as a Teacher Advocate for DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make it easy for anyone to help a teacher in need.

It gives us the extra income we need. It supplements the budget for the Partnership so they (teachers) can really get some of the things that we can’t always supply them through the company. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Jennifer Simpson, DonorsChoose Teacher Advocate

Jennifer was introduced to DonorsChoose.org by Children’s Services Director Kim Dodd in 2017 when she was serving the Partnership as a Pre-K teacher in Sylvania (DeKalb County). See how Jennifer now supports other classroom staff with on-demand guidance for submitting projects to the non-profit classroom funding site.

Meals on Wheels & More Reaches Out for Donations Through Local Media

Community Support the Backbone of Meals On Wheels & More
David Juarez loads a care package for weekly meal delivery

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people and businesses across the state and across the world, the Partnership’s Meals on Wheels & More program has again teamed up with the Decatur Daily for its February fundraising campaign.

Each year, the Decatur Daily accepts donations for the Meals on Wheels & More program in an effort to garner community support and help provide the supplemental funding needed to keep the program in operation. Unlike other Meals on Wheels & More programs, the Partnership’s program is not funded annually by the national Meals on Wheels America organization. Meals on Wheels & More relies on donations from the public to stay operational. While local governments do provide some funding for the program, the majority of funding comes from private donations and United Way of Morgan County, which is also driven by donations.

Due to the pandemic that began in the spring of last year, Meals on Wheels & More has had to adjust its operations to be able to continue to serve nearly 300 homebound elderly and disabled meal recipients in Morgan County. Instead of a hot, nutritious meal delivered to the door of each recipient every weekday, the program has had to adjust its schedule to deliveries only on Wednesdays. Those deliveries include a hot meal plus a weekly care package with items that recipients can easily prepare for themselves for the rest of the week.

With a continuing decline in revenue, and a budget now at almost 10% below that of 2018, increased donations are critical to keep the number local residents being served at its current level. Because of COVID-19, the number of meal recipients served fell more than 15% from 300 t0 254. Additionally, volunteers have dropped from more than 50 volunteers per month to less than 20 since most of the volunteers are in the high-risk categories for contracting coronavirus. Without monetary donations, the number of recipients may fall even further, leaving vulnerable populations on the waiting list for the meal delivery service.

Meals on Wheels & More is asking for the community’s support by donating to the program through the Decatur Daily by making a contribution at the Decatur Daily office, or they can be mailed to Meals on Wheels, c/o The Decatur Daily, P.O. Box 2213, Decatur AL 35609-2213.

The Decatur Daily will accept financial contributions for Meals on Wheels in February and publish the names of donors who wish to be recognized.

Checks should be made out to Meals on Wheels. Donors are asked to specify who should be placed on the list of contributors The Daily publishes or indicate that it should be labeled as an anonymous gift. The check signer will be listed if there are no instructions.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels & More can contact Kitchen Manager Shontez Wynn by phone at 256-351-6850 or 256-565-3386, or by email at shontez.wynn@capna.org.

Endowment Brings New Preschool to Decatur’s Beltline

Corporate scholarships can pave the way for employees to secure high-quality childcare

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur and Partnership CEO Tim Thrasher toured the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center as renovations are being completed for an August 2019 opening.

Thanks to an endowment awarded to Community Action Partnership of North Alabama (the Partnership), with the help of Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, families of preschool children in Decatur have more options for local early childhood education. The new Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center is set to open this fall with space for three Infant/Toddler classrooms for children birth to age three, one Head Start classroom for children ages three and four, and one state Pre-K classroom for four-year-olds. During a walk-through of the nearly-complete facility with Partnership CEO Tim Thrasher, Collins reflected on how the decision by the Women’s Leadership Council to fund the project will leave its footprint on local children. “All of the women that worked so hard in the Women’s Leadership Council to promote important women’s and children’s issues will be so excited that the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center will be changing the lives of our children forever.”

All of the women that worked so hard in the Women’s Leadership Council to promote important women’s and children’s issues will be so excited that the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center will be changing the lives of our children forever.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur

Although the Partnership has been serving North Alabama’s preschool children for 50 years, the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center provides a new opportunity for employees of local corporations.   Building on its extensive knowledge and experience serving preschoolers, the Partnership is venturing out into the private for-fee early childhood sector for its Infant/Toddler classrooms. 

In response to the challenges many working families face in finding quality care for their infants and toddlers, the Partnership is offering scholarship opportunities to local corporations as a benefit for their employees’ preschool-age children.  Corporate-funded childcare scholarships provide families the peace of mind of high-quality early care for their children while they are at work. Plus, corporations are able to provide a benefit to their employees that allows them to minimize absences often associated with unreliable childcare.  

Corporations interested in investing in their employees or sponsoring working parents in the community by investing in childcare with scholarships for Infant/Toddler care can contact Children’s Services director Kim Dodd at 256-260-3156 (kim.dodd@capna.org), Partnership Development Manager Rebecca Bibb at 256-260-3172 (rebecca.bibb@capna.org) or Center Director Heather Kennedy (heather.kennedy@capna.org).

 

NeighborWorks Week 2017 Triggers Plans for Pocket Park in SE Decatur

Southeast Decatur residents may soon benefit from the continuing efforts of The Partnership’s 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover with plans for a new pocket park on Enolam Boulevard.

During the 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover event, residents of Enolam Boulevard and neighboring streets expressed interest in converting a vacant corner lot into a small park.    The Partnership cleaned up the lot for the staging area of the NeighborWorks Week event last June and its potential was realized as a future location for some type of neighborhood green space.

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Coordinated through Partnership Community Engagement Specialist Amber Jones, contact was made with the City of Decatur.  Officials were asked about the possibility of converting the lot owned by the city into a pocket park for residents.  “A group of the residents came to me with the suggestion to build the pocket park,” Councilwoman Kristi Hill.

The pocket park is just one of many city improvements being considered for funding with the Community Development Block Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Thanks to a 25% increase in the city’s federal grant money for low-income areas, the City of Decatur is able to increase or expand its funded projects for 2018.

 

NeighborWorks Week 2018 Continues Street Makeovers in SE Decatur

To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world. -SE Decatur resident Alonzo Villarreal 

NWWEEK 2018 logo

Each June NeighborWorks American and its local organizations mobilize volunteers, neighbors, friends, and national and local leaders in a weeklong celebration of neighborhood change and awareness that helps strengthen communities and celebrate our collective impact.  This year, NeighborWorks Week takes place from Saturday, June 2nd through Saturday, June 9th.

NeighborWorks Week 2018 Highlights SE Decatur on Tenth Avenue

Beginning Monday, June 4th, our annual NeighborWorks Week event will kick off in the East Decatur community on the 1900-2000 block of 10th Avenue SE.  Each day, volunteers and staff will descend on the work area with one goal in mind: leave 10th Street SE better than they found it.  As the population of the area ages and limited incomes affect homeowners’ abilities to maintain their yards, needs grow for basic landscaping.

Teams of volunteers will donate their time, sweat, and dollars to help trim trees and shrubs, mow lawns, paint homes, and perform minor repairs such as updating porch railings and mend soffits.

Resident Alonzo Villarreal said during NeighborWorks 2017, “To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world.”

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Partnership CEO Michael Tubbs builds a new sidewalk for a homeowner during NeighborWorks Week 2017 in East Decatur.  Click the image to see the results of the week of work.

This year marks the 5th year that The Partnership has focused its NeighborWorks Week efforts in the SE Decatur area through block and street makeovers.   And during the celebration event at the end of NeighborWorks Week, participating residents from the previous years’ events will be recognized with awards given for those who have continued to maintain their yards.

The event celebration for volunteers, partners, residents, and staff will take place on Friday, June 8th at 11 a.m. at the corner of 19th Avenue SE and 10th Street SE, on the event staging area lot.