It all begins with an understanding that people experience poverty in many ways. It boils down to a lack of some necessary ingredients for a full, rich life. It means not having enough.
Poverty can manifest in the spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, relational, and financial aspects of life. When we look at our lives, we all have experienced poverty at one time or another in at least one of these areas.
Partners for Change empowers participants in financial need (that we call Change Leaders) to drive the process for creating change in their own lives while offering a supportive, self-reflective environment for all involved.
Individuals who volunteer to facilitate the Change Leaders reaching their goals are called Allies. Allies are invited to be introspective when examining how poverty has affected their own lives and to be supportive to Change Leaders striving to overcome their economic and other obstacles.
Change Leaders and Allies attend a weekly “Getting Ahead” workgroup for 14-20 weeks. In an interactive curriculum, Change Leaders identify behaviors preventing them from living a financially secure life. Dinner, childcare, and tutoring are provided at no cost to foster a sense of community and connection among the participants. After completing the “Getting Ahead” course, Change Leaders are matched with Allies forming a circle of support. The circle is a hand up not a hand out.
The Circle meets regularly to build friendship and do the hard work required for the Change Leaders to achieve their goals for independence, which typically has proven to take 18-24 months. As the goals are being met, Change Leaders are expected to contribute to the community in a step we refer to as Reciprocity. This completes the circle of action.