Approximately 1,000 years ago there was a severe drought in our area, so severe apparently it killed most of the trees. Early French explorers named the mountains in south Haskell, north Latimer and east Pittsburg Counties “Sans Bois” meaning “no wood.” They also encountered a bird native to the mountains south of the Sans Bois whom they named the “Kiamichi” bird. They named the mountains after the bird, hence The Kiamichi Mountains. Kiamichi translates “Horned Screamer.” Apparently the Frenchmen found the Horned Screamer somewhat annoying because they killed the bird to extinction.
On August 20, 1964 the late President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Economic Opportunity Act that first created Community Action. Shortly after Haskell, Latimer and LeFlore Counties formed single county Community Action agencies and operated some small programs. In December 1968 the boards of Haskell, Latimer and LeFlore County Community Action agencies voted to merge into one agency and formed KI BOIS Community Action Foundation, Inc.
The name was selected from the names of the two mountain ranges which traversed the area, the Kiamichi Mountains and the Sans Bois Mountains. Pittsburg County was added a few years later. KI BOIS Community Action’s first Executive Director was Jim Hall, Jr. When Mr. Hall retired in 1978, Joye Roye was named Interim Director during the advertisement period. The board then selected Carroll Huggins to replace Mr. Hall.
KI BOIS Community Action, Inc. is a private, non-profit corporation 501 (c) 3 operating in Southeast Oklahoma. The agency was organized as a part of the national “War on Poverty.” Administered by a 30 member Board of Directors, the agency represents all segments of the community i.e. elected officials, minority groups, businesses, social services, low-income and foremost the clients served.
Today, KI BOIS Community Action is the major social service agency in Southeastern Oklahoma, with their programs touching every age, ethnic and gender group in our area of operation. From Head Start to senior programs from public transportation to Developmentally Disabled (DD) from case managing to drug prevention and rehabilitation, KI BOIS Community Action is and continues to be the leader in community development and social services delivery.
KI BOIS Community Action Foundation, Inc. continues to increase services provided by our various programs. The agency has developed new partnerships and expanded existing partnerships to meet the increased demand for services. The housing division has worked closely with the cities of Hartshorne, McAlester and McCurtain to once again expand the number of rental units in our area that is available to elderly and low and moderate income families. We continue to develop The Oaks Rehabilitative Services which manages the drug court services in our area. We developed a partnership between The Oaks and Stigler Health and Wellness Center to provide primary health care to the Oaks residential clients while also increasing the opportunity for primary health care to the clients of our women’s shelter. The transportation program has seen the ridership increase and has expanded its fleet of vehicles into 11 counties. The Community Care Program continues to increase the number of ADvantage program clients it serves on a monthly basis. The developmentally disabled division continues to provide services to a wide range of clients in a community or vocational setting. We will continue to develop all of our programs to meet the increasing demand for services.
KI BOIS Community Action continues to be recognized as a community leader on a local, state and national level.
KI BOIS Area Transit also serves Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Sequoyah and Wagoner Counties.
KI BOIS Community Care also serves Adair, Atoka, Bryan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Hughes, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pushmataha, Sequoyah, Seminole and Marshall Counties.
About Community Action Agencies
Community Action Agencies are locally controlled non-profit organizations that work to improve the lives of low-income individuals by creating opportunities for increased self sufficiency and greater participation in the community. The Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies provides advocacy, information, education, and technical assistance for its members.