In 1997 Arlmon Vanzant, Jr., having the calling to enhance the lives of young and elderly people, attended a nine-month course offered by Louisiana State University titled Louisiana Community Economic Development. After completion of the course, Vanzant immediately engaged in writing a book in 1998 on the five vision plans for his community, The South Mansfield Community Association, Inc. (SOMACOA) Visualizes “The Community Coming Together” providing diverse programs and life-enhancing services for all citizens; to bring about community betterment through beautifications, youth development, economic development, housing preservation, park development, and the building of a new Community Center. SOMACOA is to be recognized as a vital community asset that encourages individual and family self sufficiency.
SOMACOA was founded in 1997 and organized in 1998 to aid in the development of the community’s economy for the betterment of the lives of its citizens, and to strengthen the knowledge and character of its youth. Vanzant, Bennie Hamilton, and Rebecca Hill were the first officers. The surviving members of the South Mansfield Colored School Association were adopted as the honorary board of directors. The members were: Rebecca Hill, Flozel Turner, Annie B. Adams, Dorothy Thomas, Velma Turner, Irene Singleton, Arlimon Vanzant, Sr. and Verna Sweat.
In 2007 after receiving its 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, the organization extended its boundaries to serve all citizens and area of DeSoto parish, and adding new programs to its mission. The programs are YouthBuild DeSoto and Truth-N-Action Ministry. This change created the need for volunteers from around the parish with backgrounds in the fields of education, ministries, builders, subcontractors, business owners, and government officials.
Since 2009, Mrs. Shirley Purvis, Mr. Robert Youngblood, Mrs. Edna Thornton, Rev. Edward Holden, Mr. A.J. Williams, Jr., Mr. Fred Morris, Mr. Larry Heard, Mrs. Reimer Calhoun, Sr., Mr. Harry Wyatt, Mr. William Spencer, Mr. Horace Dickerson, and Mr. Michael Brown have dedicated themselves to the mission of the SOMACOA / YouthBuild DeSoto training programs.
The South Mansfield Community Association, Inc. or (SOMACOA) reaches out to all citizens, building relationships in families, neighbors, youth, and the elderly. providing a variety of social services according to the needs of individuals and offer programs that may encourage and help facilitate the residents efforts toward obtaining family self-sufficiency and independence.
We are proud to be apart of three (3) fantastic programs designed to give back to the South Mansfield, LA community, as well as all communities of DeSoto Parish.
SOMACOA / YouthBuild DeSoto provides young men and women ages 16-26 the development of character, higher morals, and self esteem through an educational and recreational atmosphere. It also provides them with leadership training, community service, character education, citizenship and the study of Democracy. These opportunities are designed for young adults to understand, demonstrate, and practice life-skills that will help them on the path to becoming responsible citizens. YouthBuild DeSoto also enhances the lives of young adults encouraging participation in academics, construction training, apprenticeship programs, post-secondary education and the commitment to community service.
A free Construction training program offered to young adults 16-26 years of age. Young adults that would like to improve their quality of life whether they are unemployed, under-employed, male or female seeking an employable work skill. These students are to experience a reliable shift in their values, attitudes, skills and personal identity. In addition to learning the floor level construction trades of plumbing, flooring, carpentry, painting, electrical, air conditioning and heating, other construction trades and OSHA safety guidelines, students are offered the opportunity to learn life and character skills such as: honesty, respect, loyalty, responsibility, trustworthiness, citizenship, mental toughness and more. DPCTP program partners with TRUTH-N-ACTION ministry which offer curriculums of, “The Creation of The World and of Man” focusing on the creator God, (The Master Builder) relating to the construction process of the universe and the purpose of people, places, and things that were built (created). This study helps the students see themselves within the divine building process.
DeSoto Workforce Development Program is SOMACOA’s flagship program combining with SOMACOA / YouthBuild, DeSoto Parish Construction Training Corps., and youth Development. This program helps in the lives of its students by preparing and empowering them for entrance into the workforce. Students will be trained in the study of “SOFT” or applied skills - such as teamwork, decision making, and communication - that will help them become effective employees and managers. This program also provide students with advanced soft skills that includes critical thinking/problem solving, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, teamwork/collaboration and adaptability/flexibility. Together these training programs provides young men and women ages 16-26 the opportunity to understand, demonstrate, and practice life and soft-skills that will help them on the path to becoming responsible citizens, employees, taxpayers, and role models. SOMACOA aims to provide, the many workplaces, businesses, and employers a pool of well trained employees.
For more information on our programs, or how to get involved, please feel free to contact us today!
South Mansfield Community Association
861 Railroad Ave. South Mansfield, LA 71052
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