First State Community Action Agency (First State), a statewide non-profit helping Delawareans become self-sufficient, happily celebrated 51 years of service with a dinner and recognition ceremony on Monday, November 21, 2016, at Dover Downs Conference Center in Dover, Delaware. Over 200 guests, including appointed and elected officials, business and community leaders attended the auspicious event. Congressman and Governor-Elect John Carney gave the keynote address. In his speech he stressed the importance and the need for access to quality education and jobs for all Delawareans. He also encouraged Delaware leaders and residents to ban together in efforts to combat poverty and improve the state. “That’s the Delaware Way,” he said. First State gave special honor to outstanding individuals, leaders and community partners who have demonstrated extraordinary service, dedication, and achievement towards self-sufficiency.
Senator Margaret Rose Henry received the agency’s prestigious Stanford L. Bratton award for leadership and service. Senator Henry was recognized for her extensive work and service to constituents within her district and to citizens across the state of Delaware. As a community organizer and public official, she has demonstrated integrity and fairness in governance, exemplary leadership in community affairs, and steadfast commitment to helping marginalized and vulnerable citizens. Cape Henlopen and Indian River School Districts received the 2016 Community Partners awards. The collaborative efforts with The Cape Henlopen and Indian River School Districts have enabled First State to provide tutorial assistance and academic enrichment to more than 300 low-income children enrolled in six of the districts’ afterschool, summer, and culinary arts programs. Chef Charles Webb, a former student and graduate of First State’s Adult Culinary Arts Training Program, was commended the 2016 Personal Achievement Award for his outstanding achievements (commitment to self-improvement, self-sufficiency, and positive change). Chef Webb has taken the skills and certifications he learned in culinary arts program to help run a successful catering Company, O Taste and See Divine Catering with his wife Veronica. As the Chef Instructor in First State’s Now’s We’re Cooking program, Chef Webb teaches the art of cooking to students with disabilities as well as healthy, budget-friendly recipes with local residents during the monthly community dinners.