One important aspect of Community Action Agencies is advocating for our low-income neighbors to make sure that their opinions and needs are being heard. This is something CVCAA has started to pay special attention to in the past 6 months. If you visit our Facebook page, you’ll see multiple instances where our leadership team has addressed San Angelo’s City Council on important topics such as the need for a homeless warming shelter during the winter months or the economic and social impact of non-profits on our city. Our Bridge Builders Advocacy event on Saturday, March 25th was the first step in bringing our neighbors’ needs directly to our officials’ ears.
We began our Saturday morning with coffee, donuts, and juice at First Presbyterian Church with our two facilitators Jason Sabo and Amanda Shelton with the Texas Association of Community Action Agencies. Once everyone was settled and the children were in the kid’s rooms, Jason proceeded to lead a discussion with the participants on what they wanted to see continue happening in San Angelo, what should start happening, and lastly, what needs to stop happening in this city. Each table with people from different backgrounds and experiences talked among themselves and shared their desires for San Angelo. Table representatives would then share with the larger focus group, summoning up nods of agreement from other neighbors who have seen the same thing.
After fully discussing numerous aspects of the city, we collected all of the papers and returned to our office to consolidate the data into an easy-to-read sheet. Later that evening, we sat down with City Council Member Larry Miller, SAISD School Board Member Ami Mizell-Flint, and County Commissioner Rick Bacon. Jason Sabo went point by point down our collected data with the trio, asking what can be done and what efforts are already in place. Having representatives from different parts of our local governments gave everyone the opportunity to see exactly where the progress kinks were occurring.
For our local officials that were not able to attend, the Bridge Builders’ results were sent out to be included in their weekly communication packets. Our Executive Director Mike Burnett has also sent each invited official an individual email with the Bridge Builders results document and an invitation to sit down and discuss how we can partner together for the good of our community. This Bridge Builders event was an amazing first step in closing the gaps between our elected representatives and the people they vow to serve.
Click below to see all of the data collected at our Bridge Builders Advocacy Event!