Craig Dublanko of Aberdeen has been the CEO for the Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP) since 2010. A former golf pro, stockbroker and business manager and housing coordinator for Evergreen Counseling center, Dublanko joined Coastal Community Action Program as a finance officer in 1999 and worked in that capacity for the next 11 years. He and his wife Kristen have three children, 19-year-old Heather, 16-year-old Joel and 13-year-old Ben.
What is the function of the Coastal Community Action Program? How is it funded?
Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP) is a private non-profit organization serving both Grays Harbor and Pacific counties and is a part of the Community Action Network of Agencies across the nation. CCAP is genuinely committed to helping people, changing lives and fighting poverty at the local level. It creates opportunities for community members through a variety of programs and services such as energy assistance, housing, weatherization, transportation, home care, nutrition and transportation as well as many more.
With the programs and services CCAP provides, we help to remove the barriers that prevent achieving economic stability and success. CCAP partners with many other organizations within our community to help provide support and opportunity for our community members who are in need of assistance.
The organization currently employs around 150 employees and has an annual operating budget of approximately $8 million. It is funded through federal, state, local and private funds. Approximately 90 percent of CCAP’s funding is from public sources.
What programs or functions have you been the most proud of during your tenure?
CCAP provides many crucial programs to both Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. Although all of the programs fill a large need, there are a few that stick out to me.
The Low Income Home &Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is one of the programs that have made a huge impact on families in both counties. As we as a community learned in the 2007 storm, when the power goes out there are all sorts of dominos that take place for families. Being able to keep a family’s power on during the winter is a very important service.
CCAP also runs a series of rental-assistance programs that are essential in keeping people off the streets. I am very proud of the work we are doing in our housing and rental assistance programs. Currently we are spending over $100,000 per month in rental assistance for families and individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford a place to live. These programs are ones that don’t get discussed very often but we know that they make a huge difference in this community and in the lives of the people being assisted.
Coastal Community Action was in the news recently for relocating the displaced Emerson Manor residents after high levels of bacteria that were found in runoff water from a sprinkler system forced the residents to evacuate. How challenging was that on short notice? What is your ongoing role in the story?
One of the great aspects of CCAP is the staff. When we heard there might be a need at the Emerson Manor we had a quick meeting and our staff were able to identify 30-plus local units in which we could house the residents.
The staff at CCAP work with local landlords every day to find appropriate housing for people in need. With this in mind, we were able to take advantage of the staff’s large knowledge base and relationships with the local landlords and used that to quickly put together a plan. Then, within 24 hours of when the tenants were told they needed to evacuate, our staff was able to take care of almost all of those that needed housing.
I think if you asked our staff about it, they would simply say that this is what we do. So, even though it was a big and challenging task, it is what we do and our staff did an amazing job.
We have continued to provide home-delivered meals to some of the displaced tenants of the manor and there have been a few tenants that needed some other assistance. But, for the most part, our role was to help get emergency housing in place. Now that the emergency housing is nearing an end, our immediate role will fade away.
Your son Joel, an Aberdeen High sophomore, has participated in a lot of football all-star games and camps in recent years. What’s next for him?
Joel has been very blessed to have the size and physical ability that attracts a lot of collegiate football attention at linebacker. Everything started for him in between his sixth and seventh-grade years, when he was invited to Football University’s Top Gun Camp. While he was there, I was approached by the gentleman who runs the Youth All-American Game and he asked me if my son can play defense. I assured him he could and he said that if I sent him film he would see if he was good enough to play in the Eastbay Youth All-American game. So, we did that and he was selected in both seventh and eighth grades.
While he was at those events, he stood out and was picked up by some national media outlets. Then, after his ninth-grade year, he received a message from representatives of the U.S. National Team organization. He agreed to play for them and that helped him become a better player and understand the level of interest schools had in him.
He has attended elite camps at the universities of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Florida State. We weren’t sure what to expect, as he had never done a college camp before. We were pleasantly surprised at how he did and thrilled when Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullens, immediately after the workout, offered him a full scholarship to play for them.
Joel then went on to camps at UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State throughout the balance of last June. While he was at these camps he continued to stand out and caught the eye of many coaches and reporters. He found that he has projected to be one of the top linebackers in his class. Last November, Washington State became his fourth full-scholarship offer.
Joel is working hard on keeping his grades up and continues to train every week in Seattle with the Barton Football Academy and Northwest Elite Index. Recently he received nine letters from Notre Dame on the same day.
In early March, he went to Stanford for two days and then spent some time with the coaches from Washington. He will go to a few camps this summer at schools that have expressed significant interest in him and he will continue to train to make himself better.
Your daughter Heather has balanced modeling assignments with studying and playing sports at Grays Harbor College. How has she been able to do that?
Heather was offered a contract to model for Seattle Model’s Guild (SMG) in April of her sophomore year at Aberdeen High School. That represented a whole new chapter of her life. Although she loves sports, it was an opportunity she felt she could not pass up.
Things started out fairly slow for her and then really picked up this past summer as she prepared for her freshman year at Grays Harbor College. She committed to play volleyball and softball for the college but both coaches knew going in that there was a chance she might have to miss some practices or matches if a big modeling job came up.
Up to that point, Nike picked Heather up and she went from sporadic work to working nearly every week. She shot her first catalog with Nike in August of 2013 and then was asked to do numerous shows modeling the clothes and became the feature model in the Nike catalog.
I can still remember getting the call from her when she walked on to the Nike World Headquarters campus in Beaverton and saw her pictures everywhere on 15-foot signs. She was shocked.
This change in schedule meant it was tough for her to be at all of her volleyball games. Heather turned down all modeling offers that weren’t Nike or some other big name so she could be at volleyball as much as possible. but it was still tough. Fortunately, Heather’s coach and the administration at Grays Harbor College recognized the unique opportunity that has been afforded her and worked with her. There were times when she would go to the Nike World Headquarters all day and then race home or to an away match just in time to play —sometimes in full makeup from the modeling event. Heather has had to learn to plan her day and week out as accurately as possible so she can work it all in.
More recently, Heather had decided not to play softball for the college because she was working so much for Nike. Two weeks ago, however, she got a call from one of the coaches. They were down a few players and asked her if she would reconsider playing. The coaches said that they absolutely understand her schedule and were more than happy to accommodate her.
Heather told me that she loves softball and missed it a lot so she decided to give it a shot and so far it has been great. The other day she modeled all day for Nike and then arrived back in Aberdeen at 9 p.m. Immediately, she met her coach at the gym and practiced for nearly an hour before going home since she had missed the practice earlier that day.
I think that is representative of the type of girl she is. She is willing and ready to work hard — she just has many great opportunities in life pulling her many directions.
I don’t know if she will be able to keep this pace up and fortunately the college has online classes that have helped her stay on top of her grades. But for now she is working hard, studying hard and playing hard.