OACAP finds new home with NCJW St. Louis Chapter

BY MIKE SHERWIN, STAFF WRITER

The Adult Community Action Program (OACAP) has found a new home with the National Council of Jewish Women.

On Jan. 22, the NCJW board voted to approve sponsoring OACAP, a community-based advocacy group that works for issues important to older adults. OACAP’s previous sponsor, the Jewish Community Center, told the organization that it could no longer provide the office space and staff support it had previously given.

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Sally Lang, a community relations coordinator and former director of OACAP, said the JCC worked with the organization to come up with a transition plan in late fall of 2006.

“Federation funding had stopped a number of years ago and other sources had also stopped and we just weren’t able to fund OACAP, and we didn’t have the staff resources to be able to continue to support it in the way the organization needs,” Lang said. “So we came up with a transition plan, where I would work with them as a consultant through the spring.”

Lang said the organization began talking with NCJW, an organization with which OACAP has had ties in the past.

“We were able to have conversations with the National Council of Jewish Women and fortunately, their board has voted to become their sponsor, which is terrific,” Lang said.

Nancy Weigley, program director with NCJW, said the executive and regular board approved the change.

“It was an enthusiastic and unanimous vote,” she said.

“This was a natural fit for NCJW. They do so many similar things, advocating for similar types of issues,” Weigley said.

Weigley said OACAP will have office space and staff support at NCJW, which will allow the organization to continue its work.

Fritzie Lainoff, chair of OACAP’s advocacy committee, said there had been rumors that OACAP might not be around for long, with the split from the JCC.

“For a while, the word was that OACAP was going to end,” Lainoff said. “But we are very much alive and well.”

Lang said she is excited that OACAP will be able to continue its work.

“It’s something I really believe in,” Lang said. “I think it’s important for seniors to be able to advocate on issues that support their own interests and the interests of those who can’t advocate for themselves. And these are issues that should be of a concern to all of us, because hopefully all of us will continue to get older, and their goals help to make our community and our country better.”