- Family & Children
Coastal Community Action, Inc. (CCA) is a private nonprofit organization that was created to assist low-income-to-moderately low-income individuals and families. The agency was chartered in 1965 with only a few anti-poverty programs, and to date, the agency continues this legacy of serving low-income individuals and families. The administrative office is located in Newport, NC, and serves as the fiscal agent for various federal, state, and local programs in Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pamlico Counties.
CCA, Inc.’s CSBG Program has received funding through the office of Economic Opportunity since 1965 to use for assistance to low-income families with helping them move out of poverty in the counties of Carteret, Craven, Jones and Pamlico. Since that time, thousands of families have received much needed assistance that has in turned allowed them the opportunity to achieve their goals of higher education, better employment with benefits, home ownership, entrepreneurship, and successfully moving themselves and their families above the poverty guideline.
CSBG - Self-Sufficiency Project – The CSBG Self-Sufficiecy Project through the Family Development Services Program is a goal setting tool that is designed to work collaboratively with eligible families to establish and achieve their goals, which over time helps to achieve the economic solvency of the participants and their families. The Self-Sufficiency Program provides financial assistance towards the achievement of S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. All eligible participants who remain in compliance with the Self-Sufficiency Program and working effortlessly on their goal achievement can remain on the program as long as 5 years or until they have successfully achieved their goals and/or moved themselves above the poverty guidelines. The CSBG Project directly links all participants with a Family Development Specialist to work directly on the participant’s goal achievement and produce successful outcomes
My name is SDJ and although I am here to tell you how amazing the self-sufficiency program is, I want to share a bit of my life with you. *I promise it’s only a glimpse (laugh)* For you too truly understand the impact CCA’s Family Self-sufficiency program has made in my family’s life, you need to know some background about me.
“As much as I would love to help...but…” are famous words that almost everyone hears in their life when they ask for help or guidance. Those are words that I have heard endless amounts of times when I searched for any kind of help, until December 2017….
Here is a glimpse of my life story:
Growing up in a completely different world, I was raised by my Great-grandmother in Germany. My Oma is my world, and yes! She is still alive and going to celebrate her 99th birthday in 2 months. Leaving her behind in 1995 to come to the famous “New York, New York” crushed my world but all my family believed that it was time for my mother to start raising me and taking on some responsibility. I promise you, it was not easy by any means to come to a country with no other family that I knew of besides my mom, whom I barely had a relationship with, not having any friends and worst of all, not knowing the language to be able to communicate. Fast forward through my teen years…I became rebellious, drug-addicted, and an alcoholic by the time I reached 14. In and out of various facilities, systems, and group homes until the age of 18. After cleaning my life up and doing a complete 360, I entered college after a few years of graduating High School. I was determined to make a difference in someone else’s life, especially those that struggled with the same day to day tasks that I endured throughout my teen year, I chose to go to college.
I was on the path to getting my Associates in Criminal Justice. I walked across the stage in 2007, so proudly just to get bad news in the end, I did not have a degree! Here I am $40,000 plus in debt with student loans and no degree. Yet, another hiccup in life that no one could help with and not knowing the resources, I left it at just that. 2008, I became a mom. I had my 1st child, I had many ups and downs, with no support system, and only an abusive relationship. So, in April 2013, my son and I escaped to Texas in hopes of building a relationship with my father, his grandfather and to get away from our abuser. Much to my dismay, that was an everlasting dream that never happened...I remained strong and provided to the best of my ability for my child. We were doing great, until- mid 2014 when another life-changing moment occurred. I gave birth to my daughter. Single mom, two children, a full-time state employee, a full-time student- that was my status. Yet again, I remained strong and forced through many sleepless nights and painful days to make sure my children and I needed nothing from anyone else. The end of 2014 changed our life drastically. I got injured on the job, which ultimately after a year full of various therapies and surgery caused me to lose my job. Swallowing my pride, I asked for help from my own family- with no success. At the time, I had a support system in North Carolina that would be temporarily available. I chose to sell our belongings, pack what we could pack and set on a 24-hour drive to North Carolina.
October 2015…Three weeks of job searching- I landed a job as a cashier at a convenience store. Next was to get our place to live, that we could call home. Applications after applications went in for income-based housing, with just notices of being placed on the waiting list. Learning all too well the lessons of letting others help me, I was put in the hardship to send my son back to New York until I could get a place for us. Heartbroken and depressed, I still had a daughter to take care of, so yet again, remaining strong on the outside was the only option. A week after Thanksgiving, I received a call of an apartment available. Immediately, I did what I had to do to continue the process and by Christmas 2015 we had our place. January 2016, I got promoted to Store Manager Position and chose to keep my son in NY for the remainder of the school year so that he would not have to change schools mid-year, again! It was hard but a selfless act I had to do for my child.
February 2017, I got my family out of income-based housing and moved into a beautiful 3-bedroom home. In May 2017, I chose to work for the Community College in the Security Department, so I left my position as a store manager. August 2017; I aggravated an old injury that caused me to have surgery yet again in October of 2017. Surviving with just bare minimum payments from short term disability to cover bills and having a longer recovery time than anticipated, I fell short in Dec 2017 for my Electric bill.
Serving on the Parent Committee at my daughters’ school, I learned about the Self-sufficiency program and always referred other families to it, but never did it myself. Swallowing my pride, I spoke with a case worker named Ms. Stephanie Cox who was located at the Godette Child Development Center and instead of being turned down and tossed to the side as before with any other previous request for help; I was greeted with what would be the beginning to many successful events in our life thus far and many more to come…
Coastal Community Action, Inc.’s website defines Family Self-Sufficiency Program as an available program for individuals/families that meet the poverty guidelines and are willing to work towards a set of measurable, attainable goals that will help move them toward economic independence. That is exactly what the program has done for us. Paying my Electric bill was just the beginning. In the summer of 2018, my vehicle needed some much-needed attention to pass the inspection. I was able to reach out and not feel judged. Seeing how much we were struggling, I made the conscious choice to take a step back and move back into income-based housing until I could fasten a job that would be able to let us grow further and forward again. Fall of 2018, I had to yet again ask for help, however, I knew that I was doing the best I could and most of all I was doing this so it could be fair to all involved. I was tired of explaining to my landlord why I was constantly late and constantly being harassed with eviction threats. The program provided a source of security and helped me put a deposit down for the electric services at our new home. August 2019, I was able to move my family back into a beautiful, 3 bedroom house, a bigger yard than before and all on my own because of I was taught to have perseverance.
Not only has it provided a sense of haven for my family it has also allowed me to become educated even more so. The workshops that I have attended through the Self-Sufficiency Program at Coastal Community Action, Inc. have taught me how to budget accordingly, I have learned the basics of couponing- and let me tell you I am a pro in Food Lion now! Recently, I have completed a workshop on Goals and made my own little Vision Board. **SHOW VISION BOARD**
Ms. Cox has been there for me to get prepared for interviews, listen to me whenever I needed to vent about anything, gave me positive feedback, and allowed me to grow and learn simultaneously. I have cried in front of her, I have smiled, and I have been angry but, in the end, she always made me feel better and I never felt judged.
Here we are pretty much at the end of 2019 and being guided in the right direction with the right sources, I am back in school full time working on my bachelors of science with a 3.16 GPA and a year and a half left, working Full time for the State of North Carolina as a Correctional Officer. I am in the application phase of Habitat for Humanity, working on my own personal business as a Life Coach, and continuing to be an advocate for the Self-Sufficiency program, Head Start/Early Head Start program, Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse programs. Ms. Cox, Coastal Community Action, Inc. and the CSBG Self-Sufficiency program have made a huge impact on our lives and I am and will always be grateful.
Challenges test the mental fortitude, tolerance, diligence and genuine character of a person. Misfortune and hardships make an individual solid and prepared to confront the difficulties of existence with composure. There is no uncertainty that there can be no increase without torment. It is just when one works and works it out that achievement is supported and continued.
Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go,
just remember how far you have come. If you are WILLING to work on things, make changes in your own life and create a positive mind frame you will achieve everything you set your mind to. You are not alone, and we are all here to help you build on YOUR success story!
CSBG – FAQ
Participants must be:
Do I have to have a Head Start child to qualify?
No. Any single individual who are income eligible can qualify.
Is there a waiting list for acceptance?
Yes; Depending on how many participants each FDS is actively working with you may be placed on a waiting list however, applications are still accepted. You cannot be considered if you do not apply!
Do I have to be enrolled in the Self-Sufficiency Program to attend training sessions?
No. The CSBG/Self-Sufficiency trainings are open to the public.
Will the program give me money to pay my bills?
No, all funding expunged by the CSBG Self-Sufficiency Program is paid directly to the vendor. All approved and distributed gas and or gift cards are provided directly to the participant as needed towards their own goal achievement. All recipients of gas cards/gift cards must sign a gift card agreement and provide all receipts to the Family Development Specialist they are assigned to.
A common thread through all of our services, be they Family Services, Senior Services, or Housing Services, is that we help change lives by providing needed resources and support. Coastal Community Action, Inc. provides needed services to thousands of residents in our region annually.