A letter from Kim, our new Executive Director

It is with a great deal of enthusiasm that I introduce myself to you as the new Executive Director of Community Action House. I know that with Mark Tucker’s retirement I have some big shoes to fill. Mark was a visionary director who did great things for the Holland community. I, too, hope to make a lasting contribution. As I embark on this new journey, I thought I’d share with you some of the impressions I’ve had during my first few days with the agency, and talk about where we see the agency going in the future.

To begin with, I am awed by the passion of the CAH staff. I had no idea a group of people could be so joyful day after day with a 110% belief in what they do and why they do it. It is a delight to come to work every morning. And the volunteers? We have around 400 folks who are leaders on our board, serve food, sort clothes, pick up donations, work in the office and do much, much more because they believe in the Community Action House mission. And to top it all off, in the few days I’ve been here, I’ve had a chance to meet with a number of community members and I’m remembering how much I like working in Holland. This is a generous, warm community.

So, what are we planning for in 2017-2018?

As you probably know, historically CAH has had three core program areas:

  • Stabilization Services – helping families who need immediate access to food, clothing and shelter.
  • Case Management – Coaches and caseworkers providing support to individuals and families as they develop a plan to move their lives forward.
  • Education – Teaching classes to individuals about budget management, household maintenance, preparing to buy a home and more.

And now, we are embarking on our fourth and possibly most significant initiative to help people change their lives for the better: the Community Action House Empowerment Institute.

All of our services make a big difference to those we serve. However, we asked ourselves: How can we help people make lasting, meaningful change? We want to help clients develop interior power by learning to identify and manage their mindsets, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to achieve long-term goals. We knew that, once empowered, other areas of their lives would improve and people would have an honest shot at prosperity. With this idea in mind, we launched the Community Action House Empowerment Institute to deliver empowerment and employability training. Since the launch of the Empowerment Institute, we’ve provided instruction to about 280 people.

Is it working? Are we seeing change?

Empowerment is about choice. Prosperity is about choice. This program opens up a world of choices for people. When they realize their ability and potential, key indicators like stable housing, steady employment and having enough food to eat improve. Although we are pleased to see modest improvement in these indicators, we are working to fine tune our efforts to discover how we can make an even greater impact in people’s lives. But make no mistake, this program makes a difference.

I could go on forever about all Community Action House’s efforts:

  • We transformed our outdated food distribution model into a more supermarket-like experience.
  • We’re about to start our Community Kitchen remodel to better help volunteers cook and dish up hot tasty meals.
  • We had an outstanding Thanksgiving food distribution – 750+ families went home with turkey and all the fixings.
  • And the CAH staff revamped case management to allow us to offer services efficiently, effectively and compassionately while insuring everyone is treated with dignity.

I’m going to wrap up by thanking you for your past assistance and ask you, once again, for your support. Please consider a gift to Community Action House. We will use your donation to provide area families and individuals with food, clothing, shelter, and opportunities to build necessary skills to achieve a stable and prosperous life.

I look forward to seeing you soon – for a cup of coffee, lunch at the Community Kitchen, at a Community Action House event, or while you’re graciously volunteering your time. Call me if you want to chat about our plans for the future or if you’d like a tour of our facilities.

 

With Gratitude,

Kim Squiers

Executive Director