Inmates paint Oxford Head Start community center

The Webster Patriot
By Steev Riccardo

OXFORD – Kathy Dow, who is the Director of Children’s Services for the Head Start program, just happened to be listening to the radio at the right time, which unexpectedly led to some big savings for the Community Action Council center in Oxford.

Dow heard Worcester Sheriff Lew Evangelidis speaking about the Inmate Work Program on the Jordan Levy radio show right around the same time that she and Barbara Guthrie, Director of the Head Start Program, were trying to figure out how they would be able to afford painting the inside of the Community Action Council building in Oxford in time for the upcoming school year.

“We knew that we had some painting that needed to be done so we decided to check out the program,” said Dow. “They came down, looked at the project and said they could do it, and two weeks later they were here. It’s fabulous; we are so excited about it.”

The center, which serves children in Webster, Southbridge, Oxford, Spencer, Leicester, and Millbury, was able to save over $8,500 with the help of the inmate work program, which sent a crew of eight inmates to the center last Wednesday.

“These men not only did an incredible job, but they were very neat,” said a very pleased Guthrie.

“We try to accommodate people if they are in a tight spot,” said Evangelidis, knowing that the school had time restraints along with the lack of a budget for the painting.

To show their appreciation, twelve students from the school designed a thank you painting for the Sheriff and the inmates for painting the inside of the building.

The town of Oxford has been able to save over $30,000 in the last year by using the inmates on various jobs for the Housing Authority, the Historical Commission, the Clara Barton Center, the Town Hall, and last week, the Worcester Community Action Center.