Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc.
-Committed to equal opportunity, and providing services and advocacy to Alabama children and families in need since 1954
Headquartered in Auburn, Alabama, the Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc. (ACHR) is a statewide private, non-profit organization committed to equality and opportunity for the citizens of Alabama. ACHR is both an advocate and a service delivery program. Since its incorporation in 1954, ACHR has engaged in a wide range of projects on the federal, regional, state, and local levels. ACHR has run statewide programs dealing with school desegregation and voter registration and continues to run the Alabama Coalition Against Hunger (ACAH). Many of its current programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, the Community Services Block Grant programs, and Housing Counseling provide direct services to participants in Lee County. Head Start and Early Head Start are also provided in Russell County. ACHR has cooperative agreements with many private and public agencies in the community and strives to link clients with services at other agencies whenever possible to avoid duplication of efforts. In addition, ACHR networks with regional and national groups that share its philosophy of commitment to individuals, families and communities.
ACHR is a private, non-profit 501-C-3 organization funded exclusively for eleemosynary (charitable) and educational purposes. The goal of ACHR is the promotion and implementation of programs that improve economic conditions, education, and racial relationships for all people, resulting in an increased self-sufficiency and overall improvement in their quality of life.
A Bit of History
ACHR was organized as a forum for discussion and action on issues of racial and economic justice and educational opportunity in Alabama. As an outgrowth of the Atlanta-based Southern Regional Conference, a civil rights advocacy group, ACHR's efforts were first directed toward voting and school desegregation. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who was involved with ACHR in the early years, credited ACHR with performing a vital peacekeeping role during the bus boycott that followed Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus.
ACHR was a member organization of the Southern Regional Council, the Education Coalition, and the Association for Community Based Education. It worked in close cooperation with numerous state and local groups. It assisted its member and sister organizations in public education and direct action projects in the areas of education, employment, housing, voter education, legal education and assistance, health, and welfare. In all of its activities, the primary commitment of ACHR has been and continues to be the concept of self-direction for low-income and minority individuals.
The ACHR Board of Directors and staff represent many economic levels and diverse racial, religious, and educational backgrounds. They work together to serve the needs of children, families and clients and to promote the concept of brotherhood.
The goal of ACHR continues to be the promotion of programs that will improve economic conditions, educational programs, and racial relationships.
A Bit About Programs
In 1965, ACHR began one of the first Project Head Start programs in Alabama. Originally housed in basements and churches, the ACHR Head Start program now is housed in three centers in Lee and rural Russell counties. In 1998, ACHR began an Early Head Start program. These two programs serve over 575 children and their families at any given time.
ACHR is noted for innovative programs. For example, ACHR's Early Head Start program uses a unique, multi-age group model which allows the center-based children from the same family to have the same teacher and facilitates children at different stages learning from one another. The program is based on the HighScope Curriculum Approach adopted for ACHRís Head Start program over 30 years ago. It also uses elements from The Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers and Conscious Discipline. ACHR's Head Start and Early Head Start programs feature a unique parent-child program. The program is designed to encourage parents, and other adults such as grandparents, to interact often with each child to help the child expand abilities and skills through every day activities.
The ACHR administers a variety of other programs in Lee County that have grown from the needs of Head Start families. These include the Community Services Block Grant programs, the Child & Adult Care Food Program (serving day care homes in a four-county area), after school and summer child care, low income housing complexes and housing counseling.
Most ACHR programs have eligibility criteria, including an income guideline which varies by program. ACHR has had a longstanding policy that participants in all programs are served, staff are hired, and volunteers accepted without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.
A Bit About Staff
The ACHR has grown from a staff of three to a staff of almost 200 people. It has become a central element in the Lee County community and is becoming more and more involved in neighboring Russell County as well. The ACHR core staff has diverse interests, experience and strengths, a strong educational background, and a long-term commitment to ACHRís mission. Most coordinator-level staff have been with the program more than 20 years and many have advanced degrees.
The ACHR offers services at the Darden Center complex in Opelika; Boykin Community Center in Auburn; and more limited services at the Marian Wright Edelman Center in Hurtsboro. ACHR also provides some services at its central offices in Auburn.
ACHR is headquartered in Auburn, a conveniently-located medium-size city in east-central Alabama near the Georgia border. Auburn is positioned directly off of Interstate 85, and is about an hour's drive from Alabama's capital, Montgomery and about two hours from both Birmingham and Atlanta, Georgia.
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