CSA starting up new ‘Jobs for Life’ program
by By LUCIE R. WILLSIE Associate Editor
Nov 04, 2012 | 939 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Community Services Agency will start a new Jobs for Life segment of its Second Chance program through the Bradley County Justice Center in about a month.

This nationally recognized program is designed to help prepare students for work and for life. It tries to help them find out who they really are, their value as a person, and what principles they need to help them overcome roadblocks to achieving what they desire for their lives, in addition to helping them develop practical work-readiness skills. Jobs for Life also teaches biblical principles and how to apply them in the working world, helping them develop character and become part of the community, according to CSA.

“If you want a job, you can get one,” said Dr. Harry Johnson, vice president of the CSA board. “We’re excited about (this new program).”

CSA staff also started teaching a series of classes for inmates. “How to Start Over” began at the beginning of October with a class in “The Pursuit of Happiness — How do I Start Over?”

Other classes scheduled include “The Pursuit of Happiness — How do I Start Over?” (April 9, 2013); “Family Ties” (Nov. 6, 2012, and May 7, 2013); “Responsible Thinking” (Dec. 4, 2012, and June 4, 2013); “My Needs vs. My Wants” (Jan. 8, 2013, and July 9, 2013); “Entering and Re-entering a Child’s Life/Learning to Parent Again” (Feb. 5, 2013, and Aug. 6, 2013); and “Health and Wellness” (March 5, 2013, and Sept. 10, 2013).

The Senior Center’s Fall Festival program will be held this Wednesday at the Senior Center located at 230 Urbane Road starting at 10 a.m.

“We have a lot going on,” said Sharon Westfield, executive director of senior services and outreach coordination at the Bradley Cleveland Senior Activity Center.

This year’s annual Senior Citizen’s Christmas Party will be held at Bradley Central High School starting at 5 p.m.

“Save that date,” said Demetrius Ramsey, executive director of the CSA. “People get fired up (for this event) every year.”

Donations, especially monetary donations, are needed to be able to provide a holiday meal, gifts and door prizes for area seniors.

Around 600 seniors attend programs at the senior activity center, with 48 new members having joined since July, with 85 seniors having renewed their memberships. Up to 750 meals are served every month, with a goal of 800 for August, the center served 839 meals that month.

The CSA board also voted to meet once every quarter on the fourth Thursday — in January, April, July and October — at 11:45 a.m. at the main headquarters building at 155 6th St. S.E. This schedule replaces the old bi-monthly schedule. The next meeting is set for Jan. 24, 2013.

For more information or to make donations, contact Sharon Westfield at 559-2171 or Dale Enos at CSA at 479-4111.

In other business:

— In August, 2,327 hot meals were delivered and 640 frozen meals as part of the CSA’s home delivered meals program. In September, 2,275 hot meals and 695 frozen meals were delivered. At the time of the October meeting, 2,122 hot meals had been delivered, while 635 frozen meals had been delivered.

“And new people are still coming on,” said Faye Goldston, CSA staff in charge of the home delivered meals program.

— The CSA is still working on compiling information on the situation of homeless students in both the city and the county, said Demetrius Ramsey, executive director of the CSA.

— The shelter housed 167 people since the August meeting tally — 115 local people and 52 nonlocals for a total of 2,306 nights. Almost 40 people stayed in the shelter every night, most of whom remained about two weeks. Almost 83 percent of these residents eventually found work and more than 80 percent found permanent housing. More than 7,300 meals were served during this time period.

— Forty-six housing units are available through the CSA, with only two currently vacant but expected to be filled by mid-November, for a total anticipated monthly income of slightly around $23,000.

— The last commodity distribution for 233 customers was held on July 26. The September distribution was cancelled due to lack of food items. The next distribution is scheduled for Nov. 15.

“It’s a new commodity year,” said Jackie Westfield, CSA program coordinator. The next commodity distribution will have at least a dozen or so items, including peanut butter. “We’re taking new applications now.”

— The new Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program year began on July 1. Currently, 626 households have been helped with regular heating assistance — for a total of $250,425 — and 584 have been helped with emergency heating assistance — for a total of $233,325.

“We’re about on target,” Westfield said. About 50 percent of the budget has been used, with Westfield estimating that emergency funds will become unavailable by the end of December.

— The weatherization program is on hold and isn’t taking applications nor doing any weatherization. All applications are pending because this program is being transferred from the Department of Human Services to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. It is anticipated that no weatherization contracts will be available until at least early December. Contracts should come in by early December, according to a representative from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. CSA estimates that only $50,000 will be allocated for weatherization for Bradley County, whereas last year’s allocation for this program was $1M thanks to a federal stimulus money program.

Between eight and 10 house weatherization projects will probably be able to be taken care of with this money, but in “no way touching what we have on hand to do,” Jackie Westfield said.

—To date, 105 people have applied for the Second Chance program for ex-offenders. Fourteen of them have gotten part-time jobs with CSA’s job readiness program and nine have gotten full-time jobs with local employers.

For more information on any of these programs, call the CSA at 476-1598.