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Making a Difference: CAC East Neighborhood Center offering help for families

An East Tennessee organization that provides ongoing resources for the community.
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -The Community Action Committee’s East Neighborhood Center has been offering tutoring services for elementary and middle school children for the past eleven years.

Single mother Christina Salazar said the Center has not only helped with tutoring for her elementary-aged son, but it has provided support for her as she works to complete a college degree in accounting with Pellissippi State Community College. “He makes As and Bs and was just looking for that extra help, especially with getting him to verbalize his words more.” Salazar said the Steps to Success program helped with funding her college books. “Then I went to the Resilient Families which also helped with my schooling and getting the tutoring for my children.”

Manager Albert Nelson says the CAC center provides any type of support for children. “Come on in. Don’t stay there and suffer. We have things for you. We have things for your kids.”

Salazar said the support is helping her keep her kids on track for an important future goal: “Going to college. That’s the main step.”

Nelson said the shock of recent violence in the East Knoxville community underscores the need to make sure children feel protected. “They need to feel secure. They need to feel loved. They need to feel like this community cares about them, and we do.”

Future projects backed by the CAC East Neighborhood Center include a poster contest involving the Lions Club with a theme of PEACE: We Are All Connected. The contest planned for fall will focus on Austin-East Magnet High School and feeder schools, with potential top cash prizes as high as $500. Community leaders want to motivate students to use their intelligence and creativity while discovering the extent of their abilities. “I think that our kids have the capabilities of doing extraordinary things,” said Nelson, “but we need to pull them back in the arena of being kids.”

CAC services include help paying utility bills, searching for jobs, adults completing high school and college education and various types of family support. For those services CAC does not provide directly, it can connect you to other agencies.

Christina Salazar - It’s awesome! They are very willing to work with you.

Special events this spring include: Keys to Fatherhood: Fatherhood Hike at Ijams Nature Center on Sunday, April 18 at 1:00 pm. Register with Susan.Bradford@knoxcac.org. Transportation is available.

If you are in college and face barriers to graduating, check with gary.miller@knoxcac.org or 865-546-5125 to see if you qualify for help with utilities, rent, tuition and textbooks.

If you have very young children and need Head Start resources visit Knox Head Start or call 865-522-2193.

To find out more information of the resources available at the center visit the website here.

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