YOUNGSTOWN - This year marks the 50th anniversary of Community Action in America with the local Mahoning / Youngstown Community Action Partnership (MYCAP) among those agencies that help to change people's lives by educating and empowering eligible residents of Mahoning County with a goal of moving toward self-sufficiency.
Al Stabilito, director, outreach and communications for the MYCAP, said "Over the past 50 years, we have weathered changing economic conditions, recessions and other difficult times. But one thing is certain - we have continued to focus on helping people to move out of poverty."
Community Action agencies were created as part of the Economic Opportunity Act, also known as the War on Poverty, which was signed into law on Aug. 20, 1964, by President Johnson.
"MYCAP is people helping people. That will be our mission today, tomorrow and for as long as there are children, adults and families who rely on us to make a positive difference in their lives," said R. Renee Walton, CEO of MYCAP.
MYCAP has two offices at 1325 Fifth Ave., Youngstown, and at 305 North 15 St., Sebring. There is also a Head Start administrative office, 1350 Fifth Ave., Youngstown, and nine Head Start sites in Mahoning County.
"We are proud of our strong history of helping people help themselves," Stabilito said.
In 2013, some of the accomplishments of MYCAP included:
Provided basic computer lessons to 148 adults from October 2012 to September 2013. This included mouse skills and introduction to computers, Microsoft Windows for beginners, and introduction to the Internet and email basics. The classes were made possible through the Every Citizen Online grant from Connect Ohio.
Provided free tax preparation for 425 individuals and families who needed help with their 2012 local, state and federal tax returns.
More than 60 outreach activities were attended and reached over 2,600 individuals.
Helped over 8,500 people with Energy Assistance Programs such as the Electric Partnership Program (EPP), the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), the Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) and other programs.
Community Action Agencies work to alleviate poverty and empower low-income families in their local communities.