On May 2nd SENCA recognized 54 years of providing a variety of programs and services, each specifically designed to help reduce poverty and revitalize communities througout southeast Nebraska. During the month of May SENCA, along with Community Action Agencies across the state and the nation, recognize May as Community Action Month.
During this time of uncertainty, there will be many of our neighbors, friends and even family who may experience situations they never thought were possible, even just a few months ago when most people were comfortably going about their normal every day lives. Most of us have had to adapt to a different lifestyle, and we are not certain how long this abnormal way of living will take place or what new challenges might be encountered along the way.
Now more than ever, Community Action is a local resource that is here to help. Having access to local programs that provide solutions to top identified challenges in our communities is important, especially during times of uncertainty. SENCA programs are provided and managed by local, trained professionals who work one-on-one with economically challenged individuals and families to provide assistance in a caring and confidental manner.
Community Action, along with programs such as Head Start, Job Corps, Foster Grandparents, etc. were founded by the late Sargent Shriver, Director of the Peace Corps and Special Assistant to the late President Lyndon B. Johnson. The development and implementation of a variety of social programs providing solutions to issues such as food insecurity, home-lessness and other related concerns was accomplished as a result of the War on Poverty declared by the late President Johnson during his 1964 State of the Union Address.
To carry out this mission Community Action Agencies (CAAs), were established across the country and began the process of providing local programs. Today there are nine CAAs that serve Nebraska and more than 1,100 CAAs nationwide.
SENCA was incorporated on May 2, 1966 for the purpose of “developing and operating any and all community action programs and activities including but not limited to those authorized or permitted by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.” The incorporators of SENCA were Evelyn Cooper of Humboldt and Cecil Davis of Pawnee City. SENCA's Central Office is located in Humboldt. Vicky McNealy serves as Executive Director and manages a staff of 55 trained individuals.
The business, property, policies, programs and affairs of the corporation are determined and managed by a volunteer Board of Directors representing SENCA’s six county core service area of Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson. At least one-third of the members are chosen by a democratic selection process to represent low-income persons residing within the service area. One-third of the members are appointed to represent public officials and the remainder are appointed to represent private interest.
SENCA offers a wide range of services that are aimed at the reduction of poverty, the revitalization of low-income communities and the empowerment of low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient. The services and activities offered have a measurable and potentially major impact on causes of poverty in the communities that are served. SENCA works with participants to increase skills, knowledge and motivation in the ongoing mission to secure opportunities needed for the participants to become self-sufficient.
SENCA's three primary program areas consist of Community Economic Development (Housing and Transit), Family Outreach (Case Management, Money Management, Nutrition, Job Skills, Emergency Services for Food, Rent and Utilities etc.) and Youth Education (Head Start, Youth Mentoring and SENCA SMART Financial Literacy). Each year SENCA provides annual outcomes as a result of the positive impact Community Action programs have on economically challenged households. Clients, as well as agency staff, share stories of success and hope as a way of providing hope and encouragement to others who may be experiencing similar emergency situations and not sure where to ask for help.
SENCA works with a variety of community partners throughout the agency's southeast Nebraska service area with the on-going mission of "Investing in our neighbors through education and partnerships to improve lives and build strong communities in southeast Nebraska."