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About Us

Photo - Signing of Economic Opportunity ActIn 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Congress of the United States proclaimed a national "War on Poverty" by enacting the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

President Johnson solidified his commitment to forging new opportunities for the poor in the United States by mobilizing financial and human resources to eliminate poverty.

To assist in fighting his "War on Poverty", local Community Action Agencies were created to provide a wide range of human services at the community level to help individuals build self-sufficiency and rise out of poverty.

This act described the purpose, structure, and financing of Community Action Agencies (CAA) in the United States. CAAs are locally controlled organizations whose purpose is to reduce poverty and to help low-income people become self-sufficient. They are governed by a tripartite board of directors composed of no less than 15 and no more than 51 members.

WSOS is a private, nonprofit Community Action Agency. The core funding for CAAs comes from the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which was created in 1981 by the Omnibus Reconciliation Act. CSBG funding provides less than eight percent (8%) of total CA funding. WSOS is one of 52 CAAs in Ohio and one of about 1,000 CAAs nationwide. WSOS provides services to income-eligible individuals and families of all ages.

Our History


Officers of the Seneca, Sandusky, and Ottawa County Community Action committees meet in Fremont and draft a joint constitution that created SOS Community Action Commission. Elected as officers of the new agency were: President: Francis Marley, a Fostoria attorney; Vice President: Howard Welter, Tiffin Mayor; Secretary: Catherine Filson, Tiffin; and Mrs. Gordon Rinehold of Fostoria as treasurer. The main office was located on Lime Street, Fremont, and the Executive Director was Arleta Hutson.



  • Wood County was incorporated into the agency, it becomes WSOS CAC Inc. A community meeting was held in August to explain the agency's mission & purpose to community members.
  • Agency receives funding for Head Start services and the Neighborhood Youth Care Corps Program (NYC) for 150 in-school youth for 15 hours per week. Also served students during the summer months.


  • Migrant Head Start services added to the agency.


  • WSOS receives funding to operate a Family Planning Clinic


  • Youth Development Program added to agency services


  • NYC received additional funding to serve more youth in both summer months and the school year


  • Funding received to operate a Senior Citizen Center in Fremont. The senior center was located in a building owned by the Fraternal Order of Police on Bidwell Avenue, Fremont.
  • General Community Programming
  • Manpower funding received, first job training program for adults in all of NW Ohio


  • Winterization funded by the Community Services Administration
  • The senior center relocated to its current location - the basement of Fort Stephenson - when Sandusky County commissioners offered the location to WSOS for the center.
  • Weatherization services (Home Weatherization Assistance Program, HWAP) came to WSOS
  • Comprehensive Employment & Training Act (CETA) funded youth and adult programs
  • Summer Youth Employment Training Program (SYETP)


  • Nutrition Services added to Senior Services and began serving meals at the centers.
  • Senior Services began in Ottawa County. This service continued until 2004 when it transitioned to Ottawa County commissioners.
  • Sandusky County Energy Conservation Program in October


  • CSA Emergency Energy Conservation Program in January
  • Ex-Offender Program
  • Summer Program for Economically Disadvantaged Youth
  • (SPEDY) Title III Manpower Development
  • Senior Citizen Disaster Relief Program
  • Senior Services expanded and opened its first satellite center in Gibsonburg at Faith United Methodist Church. It operated 4 hrs per day, 5 days per week.
  • Home-delivered meals and transportation for senior citizens began.


  • Wood County YCCIP


  • Emergency Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP)
  • Community Development Block Grant


  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP)


  • HUD/Sandusky County Housing Rehabilitation program
  • CETA Title IIB Adult Work Experience
  • Title IID Public Service
  • Employment; Title IIB Priority (classroom training)
  • Title IV Youth Employment and Training Program (YETP) in school youth during the school year
  • Title IV Youth Community Conservation Improvement project
  • Title VI Public Service Employment project


  • Summer Youth Employment Training Program (SYETP)
  • Food Service Program
  • Regional Employment Training Demonstration Program


  • Regional Employment & Training Demonstration Program (RETDP) developed by WSOS to serve 11 counties.
  • Transportation for Sandusky County


  • Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA)
  • Summer Youth Employment and Training (SYETP) for 14-21-yr-olds
  • Economically Dislocated Workers Assistance Act (EDWAA) for workers laid off due to plant closings
  • 70001 WAVE
  • OJT (On the Job Training) for adults and youth
  • NBBP (Needs Based Payment) Program
  • 3 percent Older Workers Program
  • Basic Skills Program
  • Comptrain II
  • Community Energy Outreach Program
  • Sandusky County Comprehensive Housing Program


  • General Electric – Employment/Training
  • Public Welfare Foundation Program
  • Port Clinton Erie Gardens Comprehensive Housing Program


  • Seneca County Child Abuse Prevention Program
  • Columbia Gas Weatherization Program


  • Dislocated Workers Program for Hayes Albion
  • Dislocated Workers Program for Atlas Crankshaft
  • City of Fremont Revitalization Program
  • Port Clinton Farmers’ Home Housing Preservation Grant (HPG)


  • Dislocated Workers Program for Eckrich
  • Sandusky County Recycling Program
  • State Emergency Homeless Program
  • Technitrain
  • Sandusky County Senior Levy Program
  • Norwalk Farmers’ Home Program
  • Rocky Ridge Farmers’ Home Housing Preservation Grant
  • Wood Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP)
  • RITTA Program


  • Sylvania Recycling Program
  • CAPP Program
  • Environmental Program


  • Supplemental Assistance for Facilities to Assist the Homeless (SAFAH)
  • Huron County/Willard CDBG Housing Repair Program
  • Seneca Job Readiness
  • OSC Migrant Program
  • RCAP Peer Plus


  • Migrant Labor Camp Improvement Program (MLCIP)
  • Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)
  • EPA Small Community Waste Water Project


  • Job Opportunities for Low-income Individuals (JOLI)
  • Solid Waste Management
  • State - Emergency Housing Program (EHP)
  • Community Housing Improvement Strategy (CHIS) funding for local communities
  • National Environmental Training Center (NETC)


  • Rural Coalition for Educational Partnership (RCEP)
  • Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) for Sandusky & Ottawa Counties


  • Farmers Home Administration: Ottawa County Technical & Supervisory Assistance Program (TSA)
  • Ohio Rural Enterprise Program (OREP)
  • CHIP for Seneca County


  • Adult Emergency Assistance Program
  • HUD Lead Hazard Reduction Program in July
  • MESA in August


  • Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI)
  • HUD Supportive Housing


  • Microenterprise Program
  • Technical Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid


  • After School Program begins in the Fremont City Schools district
  • Crisis Cooling Program begins in July
  • Ohio Lake Erie Program in November


  • WSOS joins Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • WIA Youth Delivery Program begins in June
  • Huron County CSBG A/C Program in June
  • Crisis Cooling becomes Summer Cooling Program
  • Sandusky TRIPS receives funding from ODOT
  • SAFAH HomeNet
  • Skills for Life – Marine Mechanics training holds its first class in Ottawa County.
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)


  • New Directions After/Summer School Program expands
  • Watershed Coordinator Project


  • Literacy – PRC Ottawa County
  • Skills for Life Ottawa County
  • Help Me Grow


  • Help Me Grow Ottawa County
  • WSOS secures funding for Early Head Start program
  • WIA Youth Ottawa County


  • WIA Youth Hancock County


  • Fremont Chip Counseling
  • Norwalk Chip Counseling
  • CDBG Afterschool Program
  • Tribal Drinking Water


  • Early Learning Initiative (ELI) formerly known as Ohio Head Start
  • Even Start


  • School Readiness funding for students in the after school program from Fremont, Seneca County, and Hancock County
  • Fatherhood Economic Program begin serving fathers in the WSOS 4-county area
  • WSOS takes over HWAP in Erie & Huron counties from the Erie-Huron CAC


  • WIA Youth Hancock County
  • Tanzanian & Ukrainian International Programs.
  • Electric Partnership Program (EPP) Program 
  • Ohio Benefit Bank Program 
  • Belarus International Program
  • National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program 
  • Fatherhood Program
  • Ohio Children’s Trust Fund Prevention Program  
  • New Freedom Passenger Care Attendant Program for TRIPS
  • Mortgage Assistance Program for Norwalk Residents 


  • The Corps Network, Civic Justice Corps (CJC) Program
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation testing sediment traps program
  • Office of Community Services wastewater program 
  • Ohio Department of Education 21st Century Learning Center Afterschool Program for Fremont City School, Clyde-Green Springs, and Fostoria Community Schools
  • Even Start Family Literacy Program.
  • U.S. Department of State Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates International Programs
  • Governor’s Discretionary Youth Funding – Green Ohio Corps Initiative (Go Corps) Program
  • Corps Network Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS) Recovery Fund
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) program in the city of Willard
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) Uzbekistan Program
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program
  • Early Head Start Expansion
  • CSBG Miscellaneous Program Expansion 
  • HWAP ARRA Program Expansion  
  • SEBE Student Excelling Beyond Expectations Program.
  • Sandusky County On-the-Job Training Program
  • Homeless Prevention/Rapid Re-Housing Grant 
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service Program
  • Peer-to-Peer Community Transition Center Demonstration
  • Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio, Inc. ARRA Expansion Program
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources Ash Tree Removal Program
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Office Housing Counselor Grant
  • Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) Contract with Putnam County
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)


  • ODJFS Constructing Futures
  • ODJFS Feed Ohio
  • ODJFS Together Ohio
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  • U.S. State Department Professional Development Program
  • Great Lakes Commission SRWC Program
  • Sandusky County Commissioners, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Office of Criminal Justice, ARRA Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program
  • Rapid Response Transition Center Program
  • Financial Literacy Services Program
  • Ohio EPA Soil Erosion Program
  • ODOT, On-the-Job Training/Supportive Services Benefits for Women & Minority Workforce Program
  • OHFA Hardest Hit Fund Foreclosure Prevention Program
  • City of Geneva GPS and GIS Contract


  • Ohio Benefit Bank Free Tax Assistance Program
  • Talent Search Program
  • USDA Rural Development RCDI Program
  • HHS Technical Assistance Program
  • Northcoast Regional One-Stop System WIA Program
  • Office of Community Services Flood Recovery Program
  • US Dept of Labor Reintegration & Ex-Offender Program
  • Civic Justice Corp Youth Academic Achievement Program
  • United Way of Sandusky County Summer & Afterschool Programs
  • US Dept of Housing & Urban Development Permanent & Support Services Program
  • ODOD Seneca County Flood Recovery
  • US Dept of Labor Veteran's Employment & Traning Services Program
  • ODNR Ash Tree Removal
  • Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Program
  • Sandusky County Homesless Coalition
  • Governor's Office of Appalachia GPS & GIS Program
  • US Dept of State International Programs
  • Juvenile Offender Re-Entry Task Force Program
  • OACAA Lead Hazard Program
  • OH Water Development Authority Financing Program
  • ODOD Office of Community Assistance ARRA State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program


  • ODOD Housing Stability Program
  • AmeriCorps Educational Award Program
  • Ottawa County DJFS Ohio Children's Trust Fund
  • OH EPA Lake Erie Nutrient Reduction Project
  • US Dept of Veterans Affairs Veteran Families Supportive Services Program
  • US AID Ukraine Government Advocacy Program
  • Buidling Grassroots Democracy in Minority Communities International Programs
  • Ecomonic Gardening Program
  • Eurasia Foundation CSPP Linkage Grant Program
  • United Toledo Youthbuild Program
  • Northwest State Community College Career Coaching Program
  • OH Dept of Health Help Me Grow Home Visitor Program
  • United Way of Greater Toledo Home Visiting Program
  • OH V.E.T.S. GIS Training Program
  • USDA RCDI GIS Tranining Program
  • ODOD Housing Crisis Response Program
  • Governor's Office of Appalachia Ecominc Gardening Program
  • Attorney General Demolition Program City of Lima & Putnam County
  • Wood County DJFS WIA Youth Workforce Development Services Program


  • Lucas County Juvenile Court/WSOS Face Forward Program
  • AfterSchool Program earns Best Practice Award from The John Glenn School of Public Affairs at OSU and OACAA
  • Fremont, Clyde, Bascom and Bowling Green Early Childhood Education Centers receive National Association of Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation


  • DOL Ready to Work Grant
  • Addition of Lucas County to WSOS Early Head Start/Head Start service region
  • Pemberville, Genoa, Fremont, Bascom, Clyde, and Perrysburg/Rossford Early Childhood Education Centers receive five-star Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) ratings from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS)
  • WSOS coordinates Wood County Help Me Grow
  • Fostoria and Port Clinton Early Childhood Centers receive NAEYC accreditation


  • Celebration of agency’s 50-year anniversary
  • Groundbreaking for Commons at Little Bark Creek in Fremont
  • Opening of Harbor Town Senior Residence in Perrysburg
  • Opening of newly renovated Nickel Plate Plaza in Bellevue
  • Acquisition of new downtown Fremont facility
  • Port Clinton Early Childhood Center achieves 5-star SUTQ rating
  • Genoa, Perrysburg and Pemberville Early Childhood Centers receive NAEYC accreditation


  • The Ready To Work program reports enrolling 130 participants in the career-training, work placement initiative, exceeding its first-year goal of 100.
  • An Ohio Arts Council Grant gives Fremont-area fathers, families and children to participate in a community art project by creating artwork for incorporation into a downtown mural.
  • Fremont Middle School students visit New York City and Washington, D.C. youth conference during the summer as part of their participation in Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL).
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland recognizes the agency's Skills for Life Marine Mechanics Training program as an exemplary case study in sector-based partnerships in the Federal Reserve’s Fourth District territory.
  • In September 2016, the agency's Head Start program begins offering full-day preschool programming at many center locations.
  • WSOS becomes the administrator of OhioMeansJobs — Sandusky County.
Board Members

Wood County

Board Member - Carmen Beltran
Carmen Beltran
County Commissioners' Appointee
Joined: September 2011
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Bill Donnelly
Bill Donnelly
County Commissioners' Appointee
Joined: January 2016
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Greg Kegler
Greg Kegler
United Way of Wood County
Joined: January 2015
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Dean King
Dean King
Economic Development Commission
Joined: May 2010
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Felicia Otte
Felicia Otte
Low-Income Representative
Joined: January 2016
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 19
Board Member - Jane Wengel
Jane Wengel
Low-Income Representative
Joined: September 2015
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18

Sandusky County

Board Member - Charles Schwochow
Charles Schwochow
County Commissioner
Joined: May 2014
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Crystal Walker
Crystal Walker
County Commissioner Designated Appointee
Joined: March 2018
Term: Mar 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Pastor Alan Brown
Pastor Alan Brown
Fremont Ministry Association
Joined: January 2015
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Jim Fails
Jim Fails
Joined: January 2011
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Amanda Garner
Amanda Garner
Low-Income Representative
Joined: January 2017
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Peg Rettig
Peg Rettig
Low-Income Representative
Joined: January 2018
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 19

Ottawa County

Board Member - Jo Ellen Regal
Jo Ellen Regal
County Commissioners' Appointee
Joined: January 2013
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Molly Sass
Molly Sass
County Commissioners' Appointee
Joined: June 2015
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Chris Galvin — Board Chairperson
Chris Galvin — Board Chairperson
Council of Health & Social Concerns
Joined: October 2006
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Gaye Winterfield
Gaye Winterfield
Ottawa County Improvement Corporation
Joined: February 2015
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Jennifer Buxton
Jennifer Buxton
Low-Income Representative
Joined: January 2007
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Pat Keys
Pat Keys
Low-Income Representative
Joined: January 2016
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 19

Seneca County

Board Member - Mike Kerschner — Secretary/Treasurer
Mike Kerschner — Secretary/Treasurer
County Commissioner
Joined: January 2015
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Paul Harrison — Vice Chairperson
Paul Harrison — Vice Chairperson
County Commissioners' Appointee
Joined: May 2003
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 18
Board Member - Dr. Cory Stine
Dr. Cory Stine
Terra State Commmunity College
Joined: May 2016
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - David Zak
David Zak
Joined: March 2014
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Carol Kern
Carol Kern
Low-Income Representative
Joined: September 2017
Term: Jan 17 - Dec 18
Board Member - Bev Hemmerly
Bev Hemmerly
Low-Income Representative
Joined: May 2014
Term: Jan 18 - Dec 19