The Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area (CAP) recently won two Best Practice awards from the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA) for their Youth Best Practice AwardsEmpowerment Center (YEC) and the Center’s Community Garden.
The Youth Empowerment Center is a multi-dynamic support system designed to help low to moderate income youth ages seven through 18 reach their potential. The Community Garden is one aspect of the YEC that offers an educational program on growing and eating healthy foods.
“We are very pleased to have received two Best Practice Awards from OACAA,” said Tim Donnellan, CAP President & CEO. “We are proud of the Youth Empowerment Center and the Community Garden. These programs provide a safe environment for our area youth where they can receive educational and enriching activities and services to inspire them to do more and reach their true potential.”
The YEC offers skill building, homework help, community service, and various culturally enriching activities. Each child also takes part in financial literacy activities and college experiences. Monitored computer access and school supplies are also offered. Each child receives a Youth and Family Specialist to act as a life coach and a liaison between the family and CAP.
The YEC Community Garden program is a 24-week educational program that teaches 20-30 youth and their families about planting and eating healthy food, caring for the environment, social skills and community involvement. The curriculum is specifically designed to allow the students to learn through hands-on interaction with the garden.
Both programs “are big steps toward showing our young people that we value youth,” said Sean L. Walton, Sr., Director of Youth Initiatives for CAP. “This means that we believe in youth and most of all it means that young people can continue to believe in us.”
OACAA and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University have developed the Best Practice Awards to honor innovative and effective Community Action Agency programs that measurably meet the needs of clients, families and communities by helping low-income people become more self-sufficient. The Best Practice Awards serve as a showcase for unique Community Action Agency efforts that make a measurable and life-changing difference.
A panel of judges selected by the Glenn School evaluated each nomination independently and assigned points based on their assessment of each nomination Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area received two of the six awards presented to Community Action agencies from around Ohio.
“These programs showcase outstanding achievements in Community Action,” said Philip E. Cole, executive director of OACAA. “They help educate our youth and give them the tools needed to prosper. They are both practices that other CAAs can learn from. Congratulations to the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area.”

Community Action Partnership received two Best Practice Awards for the Youth Empowerment Center and the Community Garden. Accepting the award from The Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs and the Ohio Association of Community Agencies are (front row L-R): Joyce E. Price, Jessica Brunk, Carmel Johnson, Brooke Heikes and Tim Donnellan. Back row (L-R): Sean L. Walton, Sr., Melinda Jackson and Dr. William Spears.