Transforming Communities Together…
It was 50 years ago that President Lyndon B. Johnson fulfilled the commitment of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. On August 20, 1964, President Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, thus declaring war on the poverty that had long ago stricken our great nation. The president realized, however, that while poverty was a national issue, it could only be addressed successfully on a local level.
Since the dawn of man, communities have rallied around its residents to assist them in their times of need. Churches, neighbors, officials and local companies could always be counted on to step up to the plate to help those individuals and families who had fallen on hard times. But as communities grew and became more economically and socially diverse, the demand on resources increased and were often not dispersed equitably. The Economic Opportunity Act provided the basis for which communities would form local agencies to serve as catalysts for promoting self-sufficiency. Those agencies would become commonly known as Community Action Agencies.
Concerted Services, Inc., though known by different names since its inception in 1965, is the agency committed to serving the communities in 28 counties of southeast Georgia. Over the years, CSI has operated various programs and offered services such as Head Start, Educational Talent Search, Weatherization, Community Care for Seniors, Nutritional Program for the Elderly, Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, and Emergency Food and Shelter. Funding for these programs and services is generated from federal and state sources, and carries with it very strict eligibility and operational mandates. While it is imperative that CSI adhere to these guidelines in order to continue these much needed services, we recognize that compliance is merely meeting the minimum standard. According to Ophelia K. Gaines, Executive Director, “for us, it is 2014 B.C. (Beyond Compliance).”
Unlike many private organizations, we do not answer to stockholders; however, our number of shareholders is vast. CSI maintains a Board of Directors that consists of an equal distribution of public, private and target population representatives from each community we serve. We partner with local churches, non-profit organizations, public and private corporations, and local governments to help address the individual needs of each community; because we recognize that our mission cannot be accomplished alone. Ultimately, however, it is the child who is better prepared to enter kindergarten; the high school senior that becomes the first in his/her family to receive a college education; the family that does not have to decide between paying the power bill and having food on the table; and senior citizen who is able to live out their days surrounded by family and friends in their own home… it is those beneficiaries of the programs and services who determine if we are truly successful.
Concerted Services, Inc. is committed to assessing the individual needs of the communities in which we serve and fervently addressing those needs, but we cannot go at it alone. The successful transformation to vibrant, empowered communities requires investment, financially and giving of your time through volunteerism. For more information on our services, how to donate or volunteer, please call us at 912.557.6687 or 912.285.6083.