Reflecting on Community Action Month

Written by Pamela Harrison, CSBG State Assistance Director at NASCSP

May is recognized as Community Action Month. Community Action Month was created to highlight Community Action Agencies’ (CAAs) role in helping families with low incomes achieve economic security. It is also the month to recognize and celebrate the successes accomplished by the people dedicated and committed to making a difference in the lives of others.

When I reflect on Community Action Month, what comes to mind are the unsung State staff who administer the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and their role in helping the CAAs on the front lines helping families with low incomes achieve economic security. Often when the State is mentioned, thoughts of red tape and bureaucracy are what comes to the forefront. When one thinks of State staff, dedicated, passionate, committed, and tireless are sometimes not the initial characteristics used as descriptors. However, I can attest to the dedication, commitment, and passion of the State staff who work in Community Action. They are an integral component of the Community Action movement, are invested in making a difference, and are an invaluable part of the team.

CSBG has encountered changes and challenges through the years and States have encountered their own challenges. During times of state budget deficits, employees faced layoffs, salary reductions, and more. With every challenge, State employees persevered, adapted, and became experts at doing more with less. As Community Action Month comes to a close, I hope that you celebrated the impacts and contributions you have made and will continue to make! A quote I often reflect on is applicable today: “Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.”