January 2023 Volume 33; Issue 4
You can view the complete newsletter here.
From the Executive Director's Desk
It is always hard to believe that the new year has arrived. Winter weather has certainly been more severe these past few weeks which makes our work a bit more difficult. As I am writing this, we are in a winter weather advisory. LIHEAP applications for December were on pace to surpass the number taken in the prior year. I believe that we will see that happen with the colder weather and inflation factor on fuel prices.
The Iowa Legislature convenes January 10th. Our family development programs across the state will be visiting the capital on opening day to inform legislators about the service. FaDSS allows our agency to work with families to achieve self-sufficiency. I don’t believe there is more important work than that. Most of our other services complement the FaDSS program by providing support to reach the goal of economic independence. I look forward to visiting with our legislators about Mid-Sioux.
Congress passed a budget for the current year and the president signed it last week. Our services were frozen at current funding levels or provided with some increases. We are very thankful for that support.
I have been visiting with county boards of supervisors about our budget request for the 2023-2024 budget year. Those meetings have gone well. We have strong support from local government which is very much appreciated.
In the coming weeks, we will be writing renewal grant applications for many of our services. This year will be a competitive year for our Child Care Resource & Referral contract. Competitive years always make me a bit nervous but at the same time, it gives us the opportunity to showcase what we do and to dream a bit about the possibilities over the next 5-year period.
Thanks to Laura Benson and our Outreach staff: Nicole Mier, Kayla Stubbe, Pam Ericson, Amy DeGroot and everyone else who helped with our holiday projects this year. They were very busy with food boxes, Christmas gifts and other special projects which provided support to families this past holiday season. Thanks also to the many donors who make these projects possible. We have outstanding community support.
Between Open Enrollment, end-of-year tax preparation, reporting, and recruiting, it’s been a busy few months for Human Resources. Currently, Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. has 17 open positions in four different departments. Each position is eligible for benefits such as paid holidays, Health/Dental/Vision insurance, IPERS, and more. Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) positions are also eligible for tuition reimbursement for those continuing their education in Early Childhood Education.
Having joined Mid-Sioux myself in September 2022, I can speak to the family-friendly environment and positive culture – it’s truly a wonderful place to work. Our mission is, “Helping People. Changing Lives,” and I believe our staff lives that mission in the way they perform their jobs, the way they treat their coworkers, and the way they live their lives outside of the office.
If you know of anyone interested in joining our team, they can at: www.midsioux.org under ‘Employment’ and view our openings. They can also contact me directly with any questions pertaining to the open positions:
Head Start/Early Head Start
Free Preschool Programs for your 3 & 4 year old. Centers are located in Akron, Cherokee, Ida Grove, LeMars, Orange City, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sioux Center. A Child Development Center is located in Hawarden.
Check the picture to go to our webpage for more information and to apply.
Each January our Outreach staff breathe a little sigh of relief that holiday activities are behind us for the next 10 months! Staff put so much time and energy into these programs October through December to ensure families needing some extra assistance have a happy holiday season. Final numbers for our five-county service area are still coming in. We begin the process in October by sending letters to Mid-Sioux clients on the lower end of our income scale to see if they are interested in being sponsored for the holidays. At that same time, letters are also sent out to potential sponsors. These sponsors include individuals, church groups, businesses, schools, and other community groups. We generally send them to people that have sponsored in the past but are always looking for additional sponsors. If you didn’t have the chance to be a sponsor this year and would like to get on our list for next year, please give us a call at: (712) 786-3483. We always love to have new sponsors! After receiving responses back from clients and sponsors confirming their interest, we begin matching them up. We then let families know they will be sponsored and send family information to the sponsors. Client names are not given out, but we do give the sponsor the ages and gender of all family members, along with clothing sizes of each family member and some of their interests. Each sponsor does things a little different. Some sponsors provide gift baskets for families and other provide individual gifts. We not only provide gifts to families with children, but also include the elderly and disabled households in this program as well.
This year in Ida County, 130 Individuals in 36 Households were assisted with gifts. We truly would not be able to do this project without the help of so many community partners. We appreciate each and every one of them!