TRTribune: We’re Here for You; September 2013

In this conversation, we’ll cover some services provided by Foothills Family Resources (FFR) that we haven’t touched on in the past as FFR will focus on moving families in crisis to a place of self-sufficiency through the Center for Working Families (CWF) to be launched this fall.  According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the CWF model is “an approach to help low-income families reach financial stability and move up the economic ladder” that specifically helps families “increase their earnings and income,” “reduce financial transaction costs” and “build wealth for themselves and their communities.”

As you can see, our goal is not just to effect those we serve, but expectations are to see an effect throughout this community over time. This new program will follow our long standing tradition of leveraging resources through partnerships. In fact, we have forged new partnerships with SHARE, Goodwill and Greenville Human Relations to meet the self-sufficiency side of the “crisis to self-sufficiency goal” we have talked about so often in this conversation.

The CWF will welcome fifteen new families each quarter to begin a process of healing, education and empowerment through a program which they will experience as a group. Though each family will come in with different needs, from GED to higher level job training, all will benefit from the support and accountability a group environment provides. Each family will have at least one person involved in the most empowering educational elements of CWF, but the entire unit will benefit from a case manager guiding them through the entire network of services offered by FFR and Greenville County as a whole.

In order to facilitate this program, FFR has had to make improvements to our facility and foster new relationships with organizations viewed as the best in the county at what they do. To begin, FFR has opened previously unused office space to accommodate the needs of CWF. JPS Composites has donated computers allowing for a new computer lab which will provide GED and Workkeys testing along with resume building, online learning and a myriad of courses on computer skills along with tax preparations which will be available to the public as a whole.

Along with this capital improvement, FFR has fostered several new partnerships to facilitate this new programming.  Greenville County Human Relations will provide an education on all facets of money management, from debt reduction to capital investments and wealth building allowing families to attain a wealth of knowledge to better manage their finances moving forward. Lifelong learning has long provided GED education and testing at FFR and will add an increased focus on Workkeys certification, which is a tool many regional employers use to gauge the qualifications of prospective employees. The SHARE LADDER program, which has earned the William “Sonny” Walder Self-sufficiency and Audrey B. Nelson awards along with the 2004 Innovative Program of the Year distinction, will provide job training in a wide range of fields including medical, healthcare, manufacturing and computer technology. Finally, Goodwill JobConnection will add another widely respected element which provides comprehensive services in job training very similar to that of CWF as a whole.

So we’ve come full circle in this conversation. I hope that you’ve come away with a better appreciation for what this little non-profit is doing for our neighbors in need. I hope it’s also clear that we’re thinking big about our community and the ways we can move those in need from crisis to self-sufficiency.

As always, feel free to contact me at dwbolto@bellsouth.net with any questions or comments you may have.

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