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CDP director shares agency’s role with Colton Town Board

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COLTON - The St. Lawrence County Community Development Program (CDP) is an organization all about helping out those in need, and they are looking to continue to make a positive impact on those in need in Colton.

CDP Executive Director Norma S. Cary told the Colton Town Board the agency offers a number of different programs.

“CDP is a community action agency. There is a whole network of community action agencies throughout not only New York state but every state in the union,” Ms. Cary explained. “We receive our designation as a community action agency through the Department of State under the CSBG Act. So each of these community action agencies have a variety of programs and our mission is to assist low-income families to self-sufficiency or at least to a better spot in their lives.”

Ms. Cary noted that each agency’s variety of programs depends on what is needed in the county that it serves and the motto of the group is “Helping People Help Themselves.”

Current services include a weatherization program, a housing choice voucher program, a personal care program and their largest program, Head Start.

“Head Start is our biggest program. We serve 351 children and their families in this county. We have eight centers with 14 classrooms. We have the largest home base program in the federal region too, which is New York, New Jersey, and the Virgin Islands,” Ms. Cary said. “I think that speaks to the ruralness of our county, that we don’t always have these packets of children to start a center. We have to consistently have a certain number of children.”

Each classroom in the Head Start Program has 17 children with a teacher and teacher assistant as well.

Another popular service provided by the not-for-profit organization is Community Action Angels. This program is an innovative, volunteer-driven program that strives to serve the unmet needs of individuals and families that may not be met through other resources.

“We just started this a year or so ago. This is working with families in the county that maybe fall through the cracks. Usually it’s medically involved. If a child say has to go the Burlington (Vt. hospital) for some sort of treatment, we would step to the plate and try to help them with a piece of it. We’re just getting off the ground so we don’t have a lot of money there, so if anyone wants to volunteer there, call us. We’d love to have new volunteers,” Ms. Cary said.

Another key aspect of CDP is their Neighborhood Centers. They have six major Neighborhood Centers located throughout St. Lawrence County, including one in Colton.

“We just hired a new Neighborhood Center director a week or two ago, Danielle Trimm. She’s from Colton, and she’s a nice young lady. She’s very interested in coming up with a lot of activities for people,” Ms. Cary said. “We do a variety of things in our Neighborhood Centers. We focus on education, trying to get people into the work force, etc.”

On the whole, the town board expressed their interest in the CDP offerings.

“We’re really committed to this. This is really needed. I look forward to working with you in the future,” Councilman Ronald Robert said.

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