Looking for people who want to 'Get Ahead'

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"'Tis the season" for giving. We live in a generous community and it shows during the Christmas season.

But what if we could give a hand up instead of a handout? What if together we could build a sustainable community where all could live well?

If you or someone you know is barely getting by, living paycheck to paycheck, but wants to get ahead, hope is around the corner.

"Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World" is a group of people who gather around a table for 16 sessions, exploring the causes of poverty, building new resources and writing a "future story."

A new group will be offered in the new year on Tuesday and Thursdays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. beginning Jan. 12.

The group meets at Gobin United Methodist Church in Greencastle, where a free dinner will be provided along with free childcare by volunteers in the community.

Organizers are looking for "investigators" who will be paid for their work as participants in the group. They will evaluate their lives, learn unwritten cultural rules regarding employment and financial prosperity, and learn about life skills necessary to survive and flourish in society.

They are also looking for community volunteers who want to make a difference. Needs include meals, childcare workers and allies/mentors who are willing to encourage the group members. After completing the "Getting Ahead" training, client participants will ideally be matched with two to four allies (volunteers from the community) who will encourage them as they transition out of poverty.

A Bridges Out of Poverty community in McKinney, Texas, has found that "participants increase income, go back to school, find stable housing, manage finances, become better parents, build social capital and realize their dreams instead of being overwhelmed by hopelessness. Allies report that they find meaning and fulfillment in assisting in the work of individual and community transformation."

A coalition of people and agencies in our county are working together to support those who want to "get ahead." Volunteers who are interested in this piece of the puzzle too are needed.

For more information about the Getting Ahead group or volunteering, persons may contact Lori Miller at 658-6010 or gobin@gobinumc.org.

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