April 22, 2024
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By  Stephen Henry
Publisher, Levelland & Hockley County News-Press

South Plains Community Action Association’s board of directors honored two individuals and Covenant Health Systems and re-elected two officers during its annual meeting last Thursday.
SPCAA, headquartered in Levelland, served over 1.5 million people over a 114 county geographic area of Texas over the past 12 months. In the process, it employed 750 people and administered six different programs, all designed to help people transition out of poverty, receive valuable job training, get help with utility bills, find affordable housing, ride public transportation, send heir children to Head Start or child care and receive nutrition assistance for their children. 
SPCAA’s mission statement is “Helping people, changing lives,” and board members were assured that the wide-spread organization is doing it’s job, both by its Executive Director, Bill Powell, and its keynote speaker, Denise Harlow, the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Partnership.
Ms. Harlow has been with the partnership since 2011 and served as Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance and Interim Chief Operating Officer. Prior to her tenure at the Partnership, she was the CEO of the New York State Community Action Association and Sr. Vice President for Capacity Building for the New York Council of Non-profits.
Ms. Harlow has more than 29 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, and was an appointee to the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in New York State. She started her Community Action career as a social worker with the Schenectady Community Action Program. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany where she was also a Fellow on Women and Public Policy at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, and holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Valparaiso University.
She told the group that they are each one of 15,000 similar Community Action board members nationwide and that their organization is the second largest geographically in the nation. South Plains Community Action’s service area covers over 12 9,000 square miles. (Only four states–Alaska, Texas, California and Montana–are larger than SPCAA’s service area.)
She complimented the board for encouraging staff to see professional certification and being dedicated to fighting poverty at the grassroots level, their own communities.
She explained that her organization has lobbyists quietly working to insure that  community action’s mission is heard in Washington, D.C.
“If anyone can change the war on poverty, it is Community Action,” she stated. “We as a country are morally obligated to provide stability and safety for people. We are winning the war on poverty everyday, one family at a time.”
“Truth is power. You know the difference Community Action makes for families. Thank you for what you do!” she concluded.
After the program, two people, Juan Chavez of Muleshoe, who retired from the board after 19 years of service, and Joe Hargrove of Crosbyton, who has maintained perfect attendance at all board meetings, were recognized. Both were given standing ovations for their service.
Chavez is also a Bailey County Commissioner who has over 40 years of public service.
Hargrove has been a member of the SPCAA board for the past nine years.
Covenant Health Systems was also recognized for its continued financial support of SPCCA’s mission of “Helping People, Changing Lives.” Covenant provides a grant of $35,000 to the Head Start program.  The award was accepted by hospital representatives Tavia Hatfield and Veronica Soto.
Whitney Quick, CPA and Chief Finance Officer with SPCAA presented financial report which summarized expenditures through Feb. 28. The report included year-to-date expenditures for internal management, Head Start, Health Services, Transportation, Community Services, and Workforce/Child Care. The report was approved as presented.
In the annual report, which was also approved by the board, it was noted during the past 12 months, SPCAA had issued 15,275 pay checks, mailed 969 W-2›s, and paid out $16,982,168 in wages.  It also issued 16,814 total accounts payable checks and had conducted training for 450 full time and 300 part-time employees.
The annual report also contained a summary of services proved across the service area as well as by county.
Over the past 12 months, SPCAA helped with 8,111 utility bills, tax preparation and referrals and information; had 1,574 children in the Head Start and Early Head Start programs, provided housing and weatherization services for 586, helped 97,752 with workforce services, provided 856,294 with child car services, provided health services to 448,531 and provide transportation to medical appointments, jobs, shopping and college for 136,018 people.
Of the services provided, 80,154 units of service were in Hockley County, 58,081 were in Lamb County, 1,464 were in Cochran County, 2,394 in Bailey County,  20,407 were in Terry County, and 72,406 were in Hale County.
The meeting concluded a board of directors election with George Gonzales and Viola Olivares being re-elected by acclamation.
Gonzales represents Hale County on the board and serves as First Vice-President. Olivares represents Lubbock County and serves as Board Secretary.
Erasmo Magallanes represents Hockley County and is Board President. Danny Marquez represents Lamb County and serves as the Second Vice-President and Rickie Redman, Lamb County, represents Head Start on the board.
Other board members include:  Patrisha Manzano, Denver City; Nora Marquez, Litlefield; Judge Duane Daniel, Guthrie; Marilyn Jennings, Plainview; Jason Sanchez, Levelland; Robert Hanneman, Denver City;  Judge Rusty Forbes, Crosbyton; Michael Rangel, Littlefield; Joe Hargrove, Crosbyton; Gloria Moore, Tahoka; Ronn Garcia, Lubbock; Judge Pat Henry of Morton; Mayor W.H. Johnson, Hale Center; Dolores Torres, Levelland;  Mayor Louise Jones, Spur; Judge Jim Barron, Plains; Dianne Washington, Matador; Sara Hernandez, Brownfield;  and Dr. Robin Satterwhite, of Levelland, representing South Plains College.
The annual meeting was held at the Spirit Ranch in Lubbock.

Rhea Gonzales


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