Free Google Images: Time for a Change

By Casandra Harris-Lockwood, editor-in-chief

In 2010 when then-Mayor Roefaro hired a consultant to research the impact of the loss of UCAI’s $10 million annual infusion of funding and programs, the biggest loss was determined to be in the arena of youth services. MVCAA has had 15 years to demonstrate its intentions and ability to provide services in the City of Utica. Their outcomes have proven disappointing. Most notably,  they have failed to provide educational services to this city’s young people after they are anything but cute little toddlers.


Headstart is easy to get behind. Little kids are adorable and fairly easy to manage. Preschoolers are not our city’s biggest problem.
Disaffected youth, however, are indeed a problem. Attending to the educational needs of low-income youth in a community with higher than average poverty levels than both national and State is critical in overcoming that poverty. Successfully graduating them from high school is the very least we should look to accomplish.

Where is MVCAA’s commitment and support for education in this urban center? As President Trump points out, it is education that is the greatest weapon against poverty.High school drop outs, marauding bands of teenagers, gangs and gang-related activity, street violence, teen pregnancy, these are the sorts of problems MVCAA has turned its back on.

In the years since MVCAA assumed the position of eligible entity, it has become clear that urban services to seniors, health and nutrition programs, re-entry programming, entrepreneur support, race relations, teen pregnancy programming, psychological services, green job training, fatherhood development, construction training, arts, and music have not and will not be forth coming from MVCAA.
MVCAA’s 990 and Char500 of 2015 indicate that their $15 million in income is solely from government sources and almost half of that income, over $7 million dollars goes to 21 different Headstart sites throughout Herkimer, Oneida and now Madison Counties. It doesn’t appear that there is much left for Utica’s urban center once the rest of the money is distributed to services to the poor and needy in rural Oneida, Herkimer and now Madison Counties.

When Utica had its own urban-centered Community Action 15 years ago program dollars were committed exclusively to urban concerns. But that was the 20th-century model and there was plenty to condemn in the policies and practices of UCAI.For The Good, Inc. has operated the Study Buddy Club continually with Hamilton College since 2002. Today the SBC operates at the Utica Public Library when not at Hamilton College and Utica College tutors are beginning to come on board. SUNY Poly tutors are next.

The SBC provides tutoring, mentoring and cultural enrichment to inner city middle school and high school at-risk youth every Saturday afternoon. These are not the Young Scholars. These are kids who gravitate to this program because they know they need help to make it through to graduation.

According to the  leadership of MVCAA in their February 20, 2017, guest editorial in the OD,  if “the agency was split into two eligible entities, the City of Utica’s CSBG allocation would be used primarily to support administrative costs and very little would  remain to benefit families.”This is pure conjecture and untrue. FTG raises thousands of dollars annually through grant writing to make sure this program continues. This year AT&T will have achieved the $40,000 of support for this program in the past 3 years. The Community Foundation recently awarded FTG $16,500 for the Study Buddy Club.

For The Good receives precious few dollars in government funding and focuses on bringing in ‘new monies’ from outside the area. For instance just last year FTG was awarded $40,000 from Walmart Foundation for its Urban Gardens. These raised bed organic gardens located in the ‘food desert of the inner city’ provide protection from lead contamination in the soil and provide fresh organic produce to families and individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford to put this food on their tables.For The Good operates with a 21st-century model where we don’t support people in their poverty but rather we provide the means for them to overcome their poverty.

The FTG board of directors is prepared to be that urban agency to hire the grant writing staff to continue to develop programs to assist individuals and families in overcoming poverty. Former Congressman Hanna endorsed this concept in May of 2016.A statement from Congresswoman Tenney today indicates her recognition of,  “the vital importance of For the Good and the many services they offer to our community, and she will advocate for the critical funding needed to continue these services.”

The agency is also committed to reestablishing a community center in the former UFA gymnasium section of the building. Several tours have been conducted in the structure and there is an intention to establish geothermal and solar applications to heat and cool the facility.
Ft. Drum officials have been contacted to perform preconstruction assessments and draw up plans for the development.Young people from the inner city should be involved in learning these new 21st century trades.Therapeutic riding programs have proven to be transformative for developmentally disabled youth. Growing up in poverty can certainly be considered to be a developmental disability.

The former drummer in the band Three Dog Night, Michael McMeel, is eager to come to our area to demonstrate his successful program called Inner City Slickers. It has changed the lives of hundreds of children entrenched in poverty on the West Coast. He recently brought the successful program to Rochester, NY.Our inner city kids learning about horses could produce jobs for them in the local equine industry. There are plenty of riding stables including Vernon Downs in our agricultural economy.Thinking outside of the box and supporting education and opportunity is how we will get out of this poverty mess. Waiting until kids are homeless or runaways; is literally waiting until the horse is out of the barn to attend to problems.

Let’s as a community decide we want to go in another direction and let MVCAA know it’s time for a change and Utica wants its own Community Action Agency restored. And For The Good is ready to be that agency.

For more information on this subject please search Blue Skies Ahead for Community Action January Utica Phoenix.

Lockwood Law


  1. Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one
    and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you
    can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support
    is very much appreciated.

  2. I really like your blog.. very nice colors &
    theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?

    Plz reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u
    got this from. cheers

  3. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was
    curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a
    blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive.

    Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  4. I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for great information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  5. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this blog.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that
    “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appeal.
    I must say you have done a superb job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Internet explorer.
    Outstanding Blog!

  6. hey there and thank you for your information – I’ve certainly picked up
    anything new from right here. I did however expertise
    a few technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your
    placement in google and can damage your high quality score
    if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to
    my email and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  7. Right here is the right website for anybody who wants to find out about this topic.
    You understand so much its almost hard to argue
    with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for years.
    Great stuff, just great!

  8. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
    you can be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and
    definitely will come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage continue your great work, have
    a nice holiday weekend!

  9. After exploring a few of the blog articles on your blog, I really appreciate your
    way of blogging. I added it to my bookmark website list and will
    be checking back in the near future. Please check out
    my website as well and let me know your opinion.

  10. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments?

    If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you
    can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  11. I simply couldn’t go away your site prior to suggesting
    that I actually loved the usual info a person supply for your visitors?

    Is going to be again incessantly to investigate
    cross-check new posts


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here