Behind 40 Years of 'People Helping People': Nichole Dumas-Krieger's ATCAA Story
Story by: Tori Bors
Published: August 16, 2021
A service path journey that began for a teenaged food bank volunteer at Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency led to what she says is a dream career with ATCAA as an Early Head Start preschool teacher.
The agency, founded in 1981 in partnership with Amador and Tuolumne counties' governments and other entities to access local needs and harness federal, state, and local program funding, is one of the state's oldest and most successful Community Action Agencies. During its year-long 40th anniversary celebration, ATCAA is grateful to be able to share behind the scenes stories of employees, clients, and others who are all part of its continuing "People Helping People" success.
Head Start teacher Nichole Dumas-Krieger reminisces about her volunteering days that started back in 1998 when she was a 7th grader. "I helped my Dad with gathering bread and other donations from the local grocery stores and delivering it to the [ATCAA] Food Bank...we also handed out the food in Tuolumne, which my Dad still does!"
She continues, "In my early 20s, I had my son and was struggling, and when he turned four, we heard about Head Start and enrolled right away. A year later we enrolled our daughter for two years. This program not only allowed for both me and my husband to work, it also gave us resources and parenting skills that we would not have had."
Nichole recounts that her husband was such an involved school parent, during their daughter's last year, Head Start Program Director Marcia Williams, who has since retired, offered him a job. A couple of years later, while looking for a new career, Nichole applied and was hired as an assistant for one of the Head Start centers.
As she describes it, the experience has been transformative. "Through the last five years I have earned a degree, moved into a bigger house, upgraded our car, and I found a passion I didn't know I had... teaching!"
Nichole adds, "I could not thank ATCAA enough for being the support to our success story. My children are the most amazing human beings and I think that some of that credit can go to ATCAA. I love being able to help my community and knowing that I am being a good role model for a lot of children."
To learn more about ATCAA, its programs, 40th anniversary activities open to the public, and ways to help and/or access services, click here https://www.atcaa.org/40th-anniversary-celebration.