Dragon Empowerment Center receives state award

Members of the Dragon Empowerment Center Advisory Committee and community partners received an Exemplary Program Award for the success of the Dragon Empowerment Center, which serves students from the Ashtabula Area City Schools. From left: Laura Jones, executive director of Leadership Ashtabula County; State Rep. John Patterson; Janice Warner, president of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies; Judith Barris, executive director of Ashtabula County Community Action; Carmen Kuula, director of Community Development Services for Ashtabula County Community Action; Superintendent Mark Potts and Paul Bolino, chief executive officer of Community Counseling.

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The Ashtabula County Community Action Agency received the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Exemplary Program Award at Jan. 30 for the Dragon Empowerment Center (at the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies Legislative Conference.

The Dragon Empowerment Center, located in Huron Primary School, serves Ashtabula Area City school children and is a partnership of the Ashtabula Area City Schools, Community Action and host of other community organizations. 

An “Exemplary Program” is a designation awarded to programs operated within Ohio’s Community Action Network that have been expertly evaluated and determined to be innovative and creative anti-poverty programs and initiatives. Each awardee is recognized for successful development and implementation of the program or initiative, and for demonstrating outstanding results and outcomes.

The DEC has served 156 students since opening late last year. Many of the students increased their attendance, increased their reading scores and increased their scores in math. In addition, students received vision services, dental exams and fillings and clothing from donations.

Superintendent Mark Potts thanked Community Action, as well as to Community Counseling, Cleveland Dental Institute, Ashtabula County Medical Center, Wal-Mart, Care Source, After School Discovery, the Community Development Corporation, local churches and others for their support.

“The biggest thank you should probably go to Jennifer Bunnell for her efforts to coordinate the services and make it all work, and I would be remiss not to mention April Tapper from AACS who has been integral to this project from its inception,” Potts said.


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