Augusta University
Sep 10

CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc

Organization Details

To provide faith-based, compassionate care for those traveling life’s final journey and to provide support to the loved ones they leave behind.


CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc.’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program is a long term residential program that provides foundational support while focusing on strength-based case management, life skills training, education, employment assistance, and other supportive services. PSH program participants have very low incomes and are additionally challenged with a disability (physical, mental, emotional). When the holidays come around, decorating their homes for low-income persons with disabilities, may be a significant challenge. The holidays are a season of giving, and to have a group of volunteers from the AU Days of Service have a “decorations drive” then come to the neighborhood and put up outdoor decorations at our “Village at Sibley” location would be one of those acts of kindness that would have a deeper impact than the volunteers may realize. Persons with disabilities, especially those who are low-income and have been homeless, live lives are in many ways defined by compromise and sacrifice. They may stand out and be less included in the community. For many, outdoor holiday decorations are a way to reach out to let their neighbors know that they are friendly and want to be a part of the neighborhood. This activity will help build a more cohesive neighborhood and help our program clients feel more of a sense of belonging. This “Decorating Home for the Holidays” project would entail having a “decorations donations” event the first few weeks of the AU Days of Service, then volunteers would spend 1-2 days in Augusta decorating the houses (7 structures – houses and duplexes) on the last few “Days of Service”.

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Permanent Supportive Housing – Home for the Holidays Decorating


One of the methods of increasing knowledge and skills over the past few decades has been through the provision of financial literacy and budgeting classes for clients and program participants. Over the past few years, this activity has been expanded as CSRA EOA, Inc. has been planning and facilitating a series of financial education and capabilities building mini-conferences across the CSRA. These events provide predominantly low-income residents in our communities a safe place in which to learn from a trusted ally about financial topics such as banking, credit, loans, investing and ways to save money. The focus at the events has varied, with topics ranging from financial scams targeting senior citizens, shopping around for mortgage loan rates, building credit, applying for scholarships, investing for retirement, and saving money on energy bills, but the core workshop at each event has been on credit score – what the credit score is, what it means to have a good score, why you need a good one, and how to build it. This fall, due to popular demand from attendees and clients of various agency services, we are planning to hold a Making Money Make $ense mini-conference specifically for entrepreneurs – microenterprise and small business owners. Our target population (we will market to these populations, but it will be open to all) will be attendees/ entrepreneurs who have one or more of the following characteristics: Low-income, Live in a rural community, Women owned, Minority owned, Veteran owned, or Owned by person with disability. AU Days of Service volunteers can help by (1) setting up the facility (currently looking at the Kroc Center in Augusta) with tables, chairs, banners, directional signs, etc.; and/or (2) staffing the registration table and a resource table; and/or (3) assisting speakers with technology as needed; and/or (4) present one or two of the workshops (business plan models, components of a marketing plan, basics of starting a business, accounting systems). We have not yet set the final date, but it will be in November and we can ensure that it is during the November 1 – November 19 timeframe. Because this is for entrepreneurs, we are looking at a schedule that runs afternoon and evening (i.e. 2:00 – 8:00 p.m.), or on a Saturday.

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Making Money Make $ense for Entrepreneurs Mini-Conference


The Mission of the Head Start Program is to promote the school readiness of young children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. We are requesting Augusta University Day of Service volunteers to read books aloud to children, as this helps to stimulate their imagination and expands their understanding. Developing language skills, listening skills, and thinking ability which all lay the foundation for improved success in school. This activity could be (1) “live/in person”, (2) virtual, with children watching readers using Zoom or other application, or (3) recordings could be made for us to use at centers. This also provides the opportunity for children to meet people from a local University (in person or virtually), learn a little about the reader (employment, college enrollment/major), and why the reader chose the book (experience, lesson, character, etc.). Planning for this event would be contingent on the method of delivery, as would the “teamwork” aspect of the project. Because this would either be using technology and may need technical support, or may be live and would need coordination for logistics across the counties, there are many methods to make this a successful event that would be highly beneficial for the children in our Head Start Program. If live, we may need to determine which sites in our counties that AU faculty, staff and students could attend to read to students and schedule specific dates for each of the sites. If virtual, we would need fewer readers and could have the event at all sites on the same date. If recorded, there would be no interpersonal interaction, but it could be created in November and shared throughout the year. There is also the option of a larger project and in which we could use multiple (2 or 3) methods of delivery. In scheduling events, it will be important to remember that Head Start follows the school schedule in the each of the counties in which they operate, thus there may be some closed days.

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Reading to Head Start Children


One project, that we seek the support of volunteers through the AU Days of Service, is our “Fit for the Holiday” Health and Wellness Fair. This event was not held last year, due to COVID-19 and we are only just starting the planning process. Generally, events are held for (1) Head Start families, and we work to obtain resources such as vision and/or hearing checks for children, blood pressure screenings for adults, and provide resource materials and/or workshops on key health and wellness issues, information provided by insurance companies, healthy meal planning, and staying safe (fire prevention) over the holidays; and for (2) Senior Citizens, to provide one or more of the following: vision screenings, blood pressure screenings, balance and strength testing, information and workshops on nutrition, diabetes, oral health care, fall prevention, and mental and physical exercise. Generally, partners include organizations such as the East Central Health District of the Georgia Public Health Department, CSRA Area Agency on Aging, Senior Centers, Recreation Departments, Medicaid Insurance Providers, Christ Community Health Services and other health and wellness care providers. Being able to access faculty, staff, and students who participate in the AU Days of Service to provide testing, activities, and workshops would expand our capacity, allowing us to serve far more families that we often are able to serve at these events due to limited number of service providers. Generally, we have an event in Augusta for Head Start families and one at the Senior Center in Burke County, but if we can have virtual workshops and vendors at several locations across the CSRA, we may be able to increase our reach, providing these activities for more low-income program participants (Head Start families and Senior Center participants). Focusing on health and wellness just before the holidays may help people take care to remember to be conscientious about COVID-19 safety, eat better, get more exercise, stay more active through the winter months, and deal more positive with stress and depression that is sometimes associated with the holidays.

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Fit for the Holidays – Health & Wellness Fair