13th Annual
Meeting of the Minds
Session #3

10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Session Agenda

OPENING REMARKS:  Jackie Orr, CEO, New York State Community Action Association


Presenter: Joanne Ocasio-Bizardi, Healthy Families Program Manager, Cayuga/Seneca Community Action

A baby shower is a party that we give to celebrate the delivery or expected birth of a child.  Due to COVID we decided to still celebrate the family by creating a drive thru community baby shower and providing a free stocked diaper bag of goodies as well as community resources.  We are continuing the celebration of the growing family in a different and unique way. 


Presented by Reginald Cox, Founder/Director, The Fatherhood Connection and Tina Zerbian, CEO, Connecting Communities in Action

Research establishes links between fathers’ healthy, consistent involvement in their children’s lives and positive outcomes for children and youth. Healthy father involvement (spending time with children, providing emotional support, giving everyday assistance, monitoring behavior, using non-coercive discipline and providing clear boundaries and expectations) benefits children through greater academic success, more positive social behavior, fewer conduct problems, better self-esteem, lower levels of depression, and reduced contact with juvenile justice system.

In many communities across New York State, and in some Community Action Agencies, the Fatherhood Connection program is successfully engaging fathers in the lives of their children and bonding them with other male role models in 13 week sessions that encourage growth through vulnerability and transparency.

Measurable outcomes for participants include but are not limited to quality time spent with children, improved custody and visitation for non-custodial fathers, improved co-parenting and relationship with children’s mothers, improved employment and money management, improved family health and wellness, and so on.   Pastor Reginald (Reggie) Cox will explore the approaches and successes of the curriculum, and Tina Zerbian and her team will relay the successes of CCA’s Fatherhood programs. 


Reggie is the Founder / Director the Fatherhood Connection since 2010. He holds a master’s degree in Christian Counseling and a bachelor’s in Christian Education. Reggie has 25 Years in the Human Services Field, 12 Years Pastoring The Salvation Army & Changing Lives Worship Center. Nine years as a Consultant and Trainer in Child Welfare Office of Children Family Service. He is certified as a 24/7 Fatherhood National trainer, NYS Family Developer Credentialed Trainer, Certified Parents as Primary Sex Educators Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Credentialed Alcoholism Substance Abuse Counselor, motivational speaker in Western NY Correctional Facilities. His Boys 2 Men group provides mentoring, life skills and personal development to young adults ages 13 -21 whose Fathers are not present or involved. The Fatherhood Connection contracts with State and Local Social Services Departments in seven counties throughout Western NY. He offers Fatherhood education for Caseworkers, Child Protective Services, Prevention Programs, Foster Care Workers, and Community Members. He is a Husband, Father, Servant, Parent Educator, and Disciple. Reggie believes that everyone is in recovery from something. His vision is to establish and model the restoration of Fathers, Families & Communities according to their original intent. Reggie works with men, youth, & women to help them identify, enhance and activate their internal purpose and giftedness. He has been conducting men’s groups for over 20 years.

TINA ZERBIAN CEO, Connecting Communities in Action

Tina Zerbian has been the CEO at Connecting Communities in Action, Inc. (form. Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc.) since September 1984. Ms. Zerbian holds both a Masters’ Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from St. Bonaventure University.  She is a member of numerous local and statewide boards, including a Federally Qualified Health Center, the NYS CSBG Advisory Council, the NYS Weatherization Policy Advisory Council, and the NYS Community Action Association.

Ms. Zerbian became a Certified Community Action Professional in 2010, and a Nationally Certified ROMA Implementer in 2017. She is also a Certified Financial Social Worker, a Certified Credit Compliance Specialist, and the recipient of several local and statewide awards including Enchanted Mountain Woman of the Year, NYS Community Action Administrator of the Year and “Friends of Civil Legal Services Award” from the New York State Unified Court System. In 2008, she was named the Leadership Cattaraugus Alumnus of the Year and is a 2019 inductee in the Notable Women Human Services Hall of Fame. She and her husband live in Ellicottville, New York and have two adult sons.

  Pat Standish, Founder/Coordinator, Community Action Angels New York

  Manuel Rosa, Director, NYS Division of Community Services