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5:23 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Western Arizona Council of Governments is dedicated to providing services for low-income families

A plethora of free services and classes

The WACOG mural represents the different western Arizona counties that the organizations offers its services to. (Photo by Vanessa Espinoza/Daily Miner)

The WACOG mural represents the different western Arizona counties that the organizations offers its services to. (Photo by Vanessa Espinoza/Daily Miner)

People can often go through their entire lives not knowing how to properly buy a home, or could use financial help, or learn how to reduce energy bills. When living in a rural area, transportation might be an issue and people could use help to get from place to place.

The Western Arizona Council of Governments is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing services for low-income families in Yuma, La Paz and Mohave counties.

Fortunately for the people of Kingman, it is located in town at 208 Fourth St.

WACOG offers services for families under many categories. It has free classes and programs on how to buy a home, on senior nutrition, free preschool programs, and even refrigerator replacement.

Housing Assistance

Buying a home can be a big commitment and a long process. WACOG offers a homebuyer certificate workshop that covers everything that is needed to buy a home.

Herberta Schroeder, a Kingman resident and an attendee of the classes at WACOG, has learned basic repair skills needed for a sink or toilet, and how to patch a hole on the wall.

“They are very helpful and beneficial,” she said.

Participants can learn about mortgages, insurance, home inspections, credit and budgeting, and even choosing a lender and realtor.

WACOG offers financial and budgeting workshops for people to learn about credit reports and scores, keeping a checkbook and creating a savings account. Workshops are offered in Spanish and English.

Need a ride?

Two transportation programs WACOG offers in Kingman include tickets for Kingman Area Regional Transit and a rider assistance program.

“Transportation is a very big issue,” said Maegan Burns, health and wellness coordinator at WACOG.

People over the age of 60 can receive free KART bus tickets, and the rider assistance program can take people to the grocery, social service, medical and senior centers. People over the age of 60 are eligible for this service but can’t have a member of the household as a designated driver.

Head Start

WACOG’s head start program is for children from birth to 5 years old. Head start consists of strengthening school readiness and parent-child relationships.

“It’s getting the children ready for kindergarten, helping low income families and helping the parents,” Burns said.

There are four centers in Kingman and one in Golden Valley, which provide head start programs. The program is free.

Weatherization

WACOG offers the opportunity to make homes more energy efficient by offering air and duct sealing services, and gas stove and refrigerator replacement.

“They will install air-sealing things that will help lower the cost of your bill,” Burns said.

Some of the eligibility requirements include owning your own home, and having an annual income of 200 percent less than the federal poverty level.

Wellness

Some of the wellness classes offered by WACOG include Tai Chi for arthritis. The program consists of gentle movements and breathing exercises while focusing on posture to increase muscle strength, fitness and flexibility.

“We teach them warm-ups, movements, cool downs, and do it at a pace anyone can join,” said Melinda Kemp, a program assistant at WACOG.

WACOG is also offering a falls prevention class to increase awareness and reducing falls. There will be guest speakers during the class to provide professional information and fall prevention tactics.

“Even if the information isn’t new, they like the reinforcement and sharing ideas with other classmates their age,” she said.

If interested in the falls prevention class, it will take place 4-6 p.m., June 15 at the Mohave County Public Library-Kingman. For registration, call 928-377-4961.

WACOG also has volunteering opportunities. For more information, visit www.wacog.com.

Many of the classes and services do have a wait list or require an application. For more information about the classes and services, call 1-800-782-1886 or visit the website.