LCCAA Ready for Next 50 Yearsposted 4/25/16 -- LCCAA's board, employees, friends and clients celebrated its 50 year anniversary with a dinner at Lorain County Community College's Spitzer Conference Center. More than 100 people attended the historical event. The program included a video presenting the agency's history with film clips of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Sargent Shriver.
"We started small in 1966 with just a few open-minded community members," said Board President Henry Patterson. "Today, we are part of a network of 1,100 community action agencies nationwide. We enjoy more than 30 productive local partnerships and we provide direct help to over 20,000 people every year."
CEO Jackie Boehnlein described poverty as a "suffocating feeling." "Poverty hurts," she said. "For most of us in this room, we have the means and opportunity to deal with many of life's worries. But for those struggling with basic needs like hunger and safe, affordable housing, it is a much bigger leap to action."
The event also highlighted recent success stories including LeeAnn Owens who participated in the agency's By Car program, Head Start parents Isaac and R'Nita Moore and Tiffany Dennis and Head Start alumni and recent college graduate Shanel Melendez.
Also recognized was Mrs. Dorothy Locke, widow of former agency CEO William T. Locke. Mrs. Locke was among the earliest employees of the Community Action network in Ohio, Boehnlein explained. She worked in Portage County extending water service to poor neighborhoods and spoke up against racism and stereotypes about poverty.
"We are here celebrating our 50th Anniversary because brave people like Dorothy Locke went places where they were not welcomed, said things others wanted left unsaid and took action to create genuine change," she added, presenting Mrs. Locke with a bouquet of flowers.
Attendees also had an opportunity to share memories and thoughts via keepsake cards. "You are doing a wonderful job with all that you provide to our community," said Kurt and Pam Beiswenger. "All your work does not go unnoticed," wrote Jan Rauscher. "You reach so many and make a huge difference."
And one unsigned note from a former employee said: "LCCAA assisted me in growing into the person I am today. The skills I learned while working there will never go away."
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur sent congratulatory messages by video. "Your ZIP code, for better or for worse, often determines whether you have access to quality health care, a decent education and the social support needed to succeed," Sen. Brown said. "That's why the work that each of you does is so important to ensure that all Northeast Ohioans, no matter their ZIP code, have the opportunity to succeed."
He continued, "You don't just provide handouts. You deliver the tools to build support systems and communities that work to help themselves." Congresswoman Kaptur called the impact of LCCAA "life changing" and noted that the agency treats everyone with dignity and respect.
"Congratulations Lorain County Community Action Agency for giving meaning to life for thousands of people over the past 50 years," she said. "You are a wonderful example of excellence in our community and nation."
Entertainment was provided by Rebecca Burkhart, harpist and vocalist. Sponsors of the event included Walter Haverfield, Attorneys at Law.
To view photos and videos from the event visit the media gallery.
To learn more about our services call 1-888-245-2009.