PORTAGEVILLE - Vonnie Hays-Adams, executive director of Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation Community Action Agency, has resigned her position effective last Friday. Hays-Adams has led the six county Community Action Agency since July of 2000.
As executive director, Hays-Adams, has managed a staff of 380 employees who coordinated more than 45,000 services for low-income families in 2004, primarily in the counties of Scott, Mississippi, Stoddard, Dunklin, New Madrid, and Pemiscot.
The DAEOC Community Action agency provides a variety of services, including employment and training, housing assistance, housing development, home weatherization and rehabilitation. Also it offers domestic violence prevention and shelter, emergency services, family support, outreach and community services, women's health care services, child care food program, energy assistance and Head Start.
"Serving as executive director of the DAEOC Community Action Agency has given me so many opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. The agency has such a tremendous impact on the lives of families in the Bootheel and helping improve the quality of life in communities I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to a part of this process of trying to make a difference," said Hays-Adams.
She said she plans to returning to her home state of Kentucky sometime in the next few weeks where she has accepted a position as executive director of a Women's Crisis Center. "Making this transition is going to be very difficult but my new position will give me more time with my very young son and will also allow me to be closer to my immediate and extended family." During her tenure, Hays-Adams has helped to increase the agencies overall operating revenue from approximately $10 million in 2000 to its current operating revenue of more than $12 million.
Hays-Adams has been instrumental in the development of a partnership with MACO properties for the construction or rehabilitation of more than 400 safe and affordable housing units such as Magnolia Manor in Portageville, the Greenfield Apartments in Bernie, Kathleen Manor in Sikeston and Lakeview Apartments in Portageville.
Further, she was responsible for initiating the construction of three new Head Start facilities. The center in Sikeston was completed this month, the Kennett facility is to be completed in December and Caruthersville center will be completed in the fall of 2006.
Most recently she has lead the agency, in conjunction with SEMO Health Network CEO Cheryl White, in the planning the Show Me Hope Center Complex in Kennett. The Show Me Hope Center complex when completed in December will consist of a 15,000-square-foot health, dental and outreach services facility, an eighteen-unit housing complex for the disabled and transitional housing population, as well as a full service day care facility for children up to age 12.
Other key programs implemented under the direction of Hays-Adams include group work camp housing projects; the Missourians Building Assets Individual Development Accounts program; Show Me Healthy Women breast and cervical cancer program; Dismantling Racism Forum; full-day/full-year Head Start services in Sikeston, Kennett and Malden; Black History Month essay contest; and a scholarship program for the children of agency employees.
"Vonnie Hays-Adams has been a tremendous asset to the DAEOC Community Action Agency. She has done an excellent job as executive director for the Agency by guiding the organization toward a more efficient and socially conscientious community-service organization. She will be greatly missed," said Eric Walker, chairman of the Board of Directors for the DAEOC Community Action Agency.
Brenda Holdiness, county services director for DAEOC, added: "We are saddened to hear of her leaving. She has taken an active role in our community projects, created many new training opportunities for our employees and is a true advocate of the low-income families we serve. We will miss her terribly, but certainly wish her much success in her new endeavors."
The DAEOC Community Action Agency Board of Directors will soon launch an extensive search for a new executive director. During this time of transition, they have appointed, Bill Glaus, to serve as interim executive director. Glaus will begin his interim responsibilities on Monday.