Lakeshore Community Action Program serves the counties of Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc. Like the other CAP agencies across the state, we are involved in a variety of programs designed to advance our mission, which is to increase economic self-sufficiency among our service population. In each of these areas, we seldom act alone.
Community partnerships are the lifeblood of our efforts. Not only do they bring more resources to bear upon the persistent problems of poverty, but they provide the unique quality of community engagement themselves. This element of engagement is one of the key motivators for individuals and families to expend the energy needed to lift themselves out of adverse circumstances. Through our partnerships, everyone can and does have an impact. Engaging in our processes to lift the burden of poverty helps all who are involved with their wider aim of a better community. Our work with other agencies in their projects sets the stage for a more prosperous community that can provide for all.
Some of our most valuable partnerships come through the United Way’s of the different counties in which we work. In Manitowoc, a recent effort has brought together a diverse group to form an organization called the Community Partnership for Children. Starting with a program of connecting young mothers with community resources, this group includes the local hospitals, the county health department, the school system and the United Way. The goal is to develop a network of supportive systems for children that will foster their growth through young adulthood. This ambitious goal could be met piecemeal over time, but the Partnership features a combination of theoretical knowledge, program development and operations expertise, and resources that none of the organizations possessed alone. This coalition can meld the pieces into an effective, strategically cohesive whole while eliminating duplication of effort and resource waste.
We participate in coalitions engaged in all of our service programs. Housing, food security and homelessness prevention, along with family education and youth services, all benefit from close working relationships with other helping entities. These collaborations aren’t without their challenges. Communication between organizations led by strong individuals closely tied to their organizations can be fraught with misunderstanding. We all work every day to overcome them. And, we gain immeasurably from the diversity of thought and knowledge that comes to the table with organizations bringing multiple perspectives.
The power of the resulting shared vision can move mountains. It can energize a community, and it can infect all who come in contact with that energy. A community mobilized with a clear vision of what it wants to be can be the rising tide that lifts all boats. Families feeling secure in a caring community are going to raise caring and engaged children who can in turn contribute by adding to the pool of productive community members. Such a community will develop resiliency. Those who experience adversity can expect appropriate assistance from the community because that is part of the community’s vision for itself.
Lakeshore CAP and all the member agencies of WISCAP look forward to meeting the challenges of poverty in the short and long term. We are part of the community along with our partners. We want to celebrate our collaborations, and to invite those not at the table to join us in creating the communities in which we all want to live. I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President & Chief Executive Officer