Meet Janelle Maybee, Head Start Enrollment and Compliance Coordinator at Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders (communityactionatwork.org).
Tell us a little about your business. – Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties is a nonprofit organization based out of Lincoln. Our mission is to empower people living in poverty to reach economic stability. We provide programs and services in four impact areas: Early Childhood Education, Homelessness Prevention, Financial and Family Well-Being and Hunger Relief and Healthy Food Access. Last year, we served over 18,000 individuals in Lancaster and Saunders Counties.
As part of our Head Start leadership team, I ensure families have access to the free childcare and support services they need. I also make sure we’re complying with the thousands of federal, state and local regulations that inform our programming.
How did you get started in the business? – I applied for a job with Community Action Head Start as soon as I graduated college! I knew I wanted to give back and support families in my community. Head Start was a dream job. I started my career as a teacher and have worn many different hats over the past 17 years with Community Action!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – One of the biggest challenges we face – and I think this goes for everyone at Community Action – is that the need in our community is so great. There are so many barriers faced by families living in poverty. It’s a challenge to know that it’s not often possible to remove every obstacle at once.
Right now, for example, the average annual cost of infant childcare in Lincoln is greater than the cost of a year’s worth of tuition at UNL. And without access to quality, affordable childcare, many parents and caregivers can’t work, let alone achieve long-term stability.
But I know that the work we do every day at Community Action Head Start, providing free early childhood education and family support, makes a positive impact. We work alongside families to overcome obstacles. This work creates opportunities.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – I’ve been so fortunate to be part of lots of growth at Community Action Head Start. We’re charged with adjusting programming to meet community needs, which over the years has included opening new and renovating existing centers. I played a key role in starting several new centers, and I’ve supported our current capital renovation project at 1843 K Street in Lincoln, our new Home for Head Start.
Within our Home for Head Start project, we’re transforming a building previously built for adult education (years ago, it was the Lincoln School of Commerce) into one designed specifically for young children and families. We’re redesigning classrooms, adding indoor and outdoor play areas, building parent resource rooms and more. It’s so rewarding to see the vision come to life, and it wouldn’t be possible without generous support from our community. Right now, we’re about 80% of the way to our fundraising campaign goal to complete this project!
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – To learn more about Community Action Head Start, including our Home for Head Start project and capital campaign, visit www.communityactionatwork.org.