Communicating and Relating

Submitted by Donna on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 07:34

In my research with people who live in the crisis of poverty, 92% reported that when they leave a helping professional (social worker, teacher, health care worker, or legal professional), they are confused and often do not know what to do next. Communication is complex. If you are talking to someone with a similar background to you, there is a 50% chance you will have misunderstandings. Think about how often you have said something, thinking you were perfectly clear, only to discover what they heard is not even close to what you were communicating.

Helping professionals often report sharing resources and/or opportunities with children, families, and caregivers only to learn there was no follow-through. They also find that comments they have said or paperwork they have given with explicit instructions does not seem to get through to the people they are working to help. The misunderstandings increase when we are communicating with people who have had different lived experiences.

In this session, I offer tools for communicating and relating across poverty barriers. These tips will provide you with strategies to ensure the message you are sending is actually being received. I will also briefly explore strategies for online communications with folks who live in the war zone of poverty.

I will start by sharing an overview of two distinct styles of communication that connects to socio-economic status: Oral and Print. Print Culture style of communication is linked to middle class, while Oral Culture style is linked to poverty. In his worldwide research, the American Jesuit priest and professor of English literature Walter Ong, S.J. found that people who lived in poverty tend to communicate in a word-of-mouth oral style, which means they get information by asking other people.

In my research, I linked oral culture characteristics with the realities of poverty that shape worldview. For example, one characteristic of oral culture is that it is relationship-based. If you get information about living your life from people, you place relationships above everything else. Poverty teaches that people are more important than any object or experience. Understanding the characteristics of oral culture communication gives insight into the “whys” behind human behavior and our natural way of communicating with others.

Print culture communication is learned through literacy. People who have the luxury to become literate gain specific skillsets that benefit them in education and the workplace. Print culture communication styles come from getting primary information from reading. When you seek information for living your life from reading, you develop skills such as linear abstract thought processes and the ability to focus on one idea at a time.

Ong taught that neither oral nor print are “better” styles, but in the United States the skillsets associated with print are rewarded and valued. Ong encouraged a balance. He believed we were losing valuable human skills by devaluing oral culture characteristics such as the ability to be spontaneous and develop meaningful relationships. Honoring oral culture communication and assisting people in gaining the skillsets associated with print is a strategy that works for improving communication.

Hopefully, this mini-session has whet your appetite to delve deeper into the fascinating subject of communicating and relating across ALL barriers. On Thursday, June 4th at 10:30 am Pacific Time, join us for a 90-minute webinar that offers knowledge and strategies for improving communication and relationships. Registration is now open.

See you next Wednesday for more Poverty and Pandemic FB live at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

If you found this video informative, please share with your networks!

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Pandemic, Working-Class Poverty, and a Single Mom

Submitted by Donna on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 15:56

What are the impacts of our systems on our fellow human beings? Today, I interviewed a single mom, Michele, who provides insights into how she and her working-class family have fallen through the cracks for generations. Working-class poverty is the type of poverty where people have jobs, but they live paycheck to paycheck and continuously struggle to pay bills. People in this context are typically not educated beyond high school.

Children in working-class poverty, like children in generational poverty, tend to lose their childhoods. They have to become adults at very young ages to help the family survive. Michele started working at 15 and has worked one or often two jobs for as long as she can remember. Because she only had a high school education, the types of jobs she has worked did not pay a living wage. She doesn’t remember a time when having a place to live was not a struggle. As a result, her family was constantly evicted and moving. “Every single month, I nervously wonder if I am going to make enough to pay the rent.”

After working for 15 years and not getting ahead, Michele tried to find a path to a better life. “I realized just working the low-wage jobs was never going to get me anywhere, so I decided to make a better life for my kids. I decided to go back to school so I could get a degree and make more money. That was 7 years ago. I realized that I was working part time, going to school, always cycling...but never moving forward.”

In this video, Michele shares the real struggles of not have stability combined with not knowing how to navigate the higher education system. Michele has completed THREE associate’s degrees and is about to finish a one-year certification in Gerontology. “If I had someone to look at my college record, I would probably learn that I have way too many credits. And I have exhausted my financial aid." When she entered college for the first associate’s degree, she had a dream of helping people. She wanted to go to a University to get better pay and be able to care for her children, but has been intimidated and did not understand what she needed to do to get there.

This may surprise you, but Michele is an honor student. She did so well in 8th grade, they advanced her a year. She had been on both the President's and the Dean’s lists. Even with all the impacts of poverty, her GPA has never fallen below a 3.00. Being smart does not mean you know what questions to ask or how to navigate systems. If you are from poverty, it is foreign territory. What seems obvious to most, is first-time experiences and information to so many.   

The current pandemic has added additional mental health and poverty stress on her and her daughters. Her income has been cut in half. She got the $1200 stimulus and a $500 credit for her 10-year-old, but her two older daughters did not qualify because she claimed them on her taxes. Note, they live with her. One is in college and the other has lost her job due to the pandemic. The stimulus money will not even pay one month’s rent. They have received food from food pantries and have done without.

Listen to Michele’s experiences with housing, employment, and education and reflect on how we can build better pathways to education success for students who live in the crisis of poverty. Her story illuminates once again why we cannot go back to "normal."

 

As a way to give back to the community during this pandemic, we are providing the following resources/discounts:

This link to the video and discount will be available through May 31, 2020.

Help support us on Patreon! Included in your membership will be a digital copy of "See Poverty ... Be The Difference" and more. You'll also make a difference by helping keep focused on delivering content.

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Men, Poverty, and Pandemics

Submitted by Donna on Wed, 04/29/2020 - 22:18

Today, we are going to talk about Men, Poverty, and Pandemics. Because of the current crisis, we see more men falling into poverty—many who have not lived in it before. Men, from a very early age, are socialized to be the provider for their family. We might think gender roles have shifted, which they have. However, it is telling when a man gets startled responses when he says he is a "stay at home dad." Many men in poverty and those falling into it can not live up to what is expected. When they aren’t able to support their family like they hope to, they begin to internalize the message that something is wrong with them.

In my family, my five brothers were raised to make it better for me and my mom and my grandma. They are guys so, because of their “maleness,” they should be able to figure it out. They got strong messages to make everything OK...but they did not know how. Because of these messages, they began to have a lower self-esteem along with feelings of worthlessness. Sometimes, their need to provide combined with lack of marketable skills/education leads to activities that end in incarceration.

Today, we will talk with Matt—a single dad of two kids who is currently working in a low-income job while being homeless and couch-surfing with his kids. He will give us insights as to what poverty has meant to him and what he believes might be some ways that people in his situation can be best supported.

As a way to give back to the community during this pandemic, we are providing the following resources/discounts:

This link to the video and discount will be available through May 31, 2020.

Help support us on Patreon! Included in your membership will be a digital copy of "See Poverty ... Be The Difference" and more. You'll also make a difference by helping keep focused on delivering content.

Patreon!

Please tune in next Wednesday for our 5th mini poverty training session. Remember to share with your networks if you think this will be helpful to them!

 

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Sylvia Stratford (not verified)

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:01

Thank you, Dr. Beegle, for this conversation and easy platform. It is a privilege to hear Matt's sharing. I look forward to hearing more and learning more.

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Everyone Can Make a Difference

Submitted by Donna on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 19:10

Mentoring and navigating for people really helps.  Here are 4 qualities that I have found to be essential.

  1. You have to believe in the person you are mentoring
  2. Show the person you are mentoring that they have value. Point out the skills they already have.
  3. Do not judge.
  4. Connect the person you are helping with other people. You can't do this alone.

Help support us on Patreon! Included in your membership will be a digital copy of "See Poverty ... Be The Difference" and more. You'll also make a difference by helping keep focused on delivering content.

As a way to give back to the community during this pandemic, we are providing the following resources/discounts:

This link to the video and discount will be available through May 31, 2020.

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The New Normal

Submitted by Donna on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 10:33
Daniel and Donna on the Beach

 

 

This week was my son Dan’s birthday. I asked him what would make him smile. He said he would like the world to return to normal. I said, I don’t want it to go back to the “old normal.”

 

Right now,

  • We are not evicting people. Many landlords are deferring rent payments to a time when people are receiving full paychecks.
  • Hotels are giving people without homes a safe place to sleep with a TOILET:). • We are not turning off people’s water or lights.
  • People are stepping up to make sure everyone has food.
  • The Department of Human Services has simplified applications for SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
  • A car company in Oregon has offered to service broken-down cars for free.
  • In one community, they have stopped towing cars when people cannot afford car insurance.
  • Fees are being waived by credit card companies when someone can’t pay.
  • Unemployment checks will have more money than the typical 40% of your regular income (of course, they need to get the systems to work right so people get that money!).
  • Troubled businesses are getting forgivable loans.
  • The IRS has delayed tax filing to assist people who are hurting.
  • More money is being given to helping organizations like Community Action.
  • Colleges are changing policies and practices to better serve students being impacted by COVID-19 and Poverty.
  • Student loans have been deferred with zero interest.
  • Schools are partnering with internet companies to close the digital divide.
  • Computers are being provided to students who do not have one.
  • The news is covering poverty—Real poverty impacts, not stereotypes and myth!

These practices need to continue long after a vaccine is invented. They are compassionate and show the reality that there is nothing more important than people.

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Fragile Social Safety Net

Submitted by Donna on Wed, 04/15/2020 - 14:00

Our social safety net during the pandemic is focused on people who are in what we call "situational poverty".  They come to poverty with an already full backpack of skills and knowledge that will help them once the crisis is over. This safety net is not for those who's backpack was already empty going into this.

Help support us on Patreon! Included in your membership will be a digital copy of "See Poverty ... Be The Difference" and more. You'll also make a difference by helping keep focused on delivering content.

As a way to give back to the community during this pandemic, we are providing the following resources/discounts:

This link to the video and discount will be available through May 31, 2020.

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Elia Moreno and Me

Donna and Elia

Elia Moreno and Me

Elia first came to a training I was doing in 2010 in Amarillo, TX. She later told me, “You wrecked my life.” She said she thought she was understanding poverty and serving people well, but learned that she could do so much more. She was soon hired to coordinate the Opportunity Community efforts in Amarillo.

A perfect example of her commitment to her neighbors living in poverty happened after the second Amarillo Opportunity Conference. The community partners all went out to dinner to celebrate. Elia received a phone call, then turned to me and said, “I have to leave.” It turns out that a single mom from the Opportunity Conference had called her. It was Friday and she was desperate to get diapers for her baby. A church had told her if she could make it to them before they left for the day, they would help. She used her last bit of money to take a bus across town. When she arrived at the church, they gave her only six diapers for the entire weekend. Elia left the celebration, picked up the mom, and got her diapers. Time after time, I have seen Elia drop everything to impact someone’s life—just like she did for this single mom.

Within three years, Elia was certified as a Beegle Poverty Coach. Soon after, we contracted with her to be our National Program Director. Elia works with organizations to bring the Beegle Poverty Immersion and Coaching Institutes to their community. She also serves as one of our Opportunity Coaches—assisting communities in building their capacity to implement and sustain our Opportunity Community model in cities around the country. She is also one of our top Beegle Speakers.

Elia has devoted her life to making a difference for people who live in the crisis of poverty. She walks her talk! We are so fortunate to have her as part of our Communication Across Barriers team.

Author: Donna on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 11:33

AMARILLO, TX ~ Seasoned Beegle Speaker and Coach Shares Successful GED Model

Elia Moreno

Seasoned Beegle Speaker and Coach Shares Successful GED Model

Elia Moreno, a seasoned poverty expert, wears many hats and titles – her latest, Founder and CEO of Living Intentionally Ministries, a community space in Amarillo, Texas that provides support to adults seeking a GED, with a focus on removing barriers that individuals might have to accessing education and opportunities. The center opened less than a year ago and is currently serving 170 students. She shares with us what makes her program unique and successful.

“First, we make it easy and we treat people with dignity. There are no hurdles to jump,” says Moreno. Easy access includes no screening process. No income restrictions or guidelines. “We serve people who have recently gotten out of prison, teen moms, anyone who wants to work on their GED, even if you make $100,000 a year,” says Moreno.

Easy access to the initial GED assessment helps attracts students. Individuals can complete a 45-minute assessment either during office hours at the center or anytime they have access to a computer outside of the center. “After completing the assessment, people often become encouraged and think ‘Maybe I can do it,’” says Moreno.

The goal is to instill hope and provide connections to opportunities. “Some people who come to the center are not employed. Then, they graduate with their GED and start earning an income, even if it is just $8-10 an hour,” Moreno says. “This gives them hope that they can obtain gainful employment and maybe even pursue educational opportunities.” Proud of the success they are having, Moreno says that—of the 24 recent GED graduates—7 of them have gone on to college.

Self-paced services help create personalized plans to meet individuals where they are and guide them to completion. If initial assessment results shows a student is ready to take any of the four GED tests, they can do so right away. Students are not required to complete any classes. Classes are available for those who would like to participate. “Some people finish all of their tests in a few weeks while others may take a couple of years,” Moreno says. Support is personalized in a way that also provides privacy. No one knows if an individual struggles with math or literacy.

Failure is not an option for Moreno. No matter what an individual’s literacy level, Living Intentionally Ministries will help either in-house or through partnerships. Currently, they are working to implement a literacy program. “Through that process, we learned that the Language Arts portion touches on U.S. History, which creates a barrier for some. In addition to their limited literacy, they don't have enough background information in U.S. History to be successful in the literacy class. We have also found that if a student didn't take U.S. History or was absent a lot, they will not be able to answer the questions correctly—no matter how strong their literacy skills are.” So Elia and her team are teaching US History and showing videos to help make history come alive for their students.

Whatever barriers an individual has, Moreno and her staff work tirelessly to remove them in a way that shows people they matter and are important. Moreno says they could not do this without community partnerships, which she strives to continue to build and maintain. “We recognize that people have barriers such as transportation and childcare. We help them access resources so that they can move forward. And there is no label of shame. Our job is to serve people in a way that imparts dignity.”

Moreno has always had good intentions of helping people move out of poverty, but this strategy has not always been her approach. “I met Donna [Beegle] about 12 years ago and she wrecked my life.” Moreno jokes. “I was thinking that I was doing everything right. Once I learned about poverty from her, I had to change how I was working with people.  I've always considered myself caring and compassionate, but, after the trainings, I was better able to listen to what the person I was serving needed, rather than giving them what I thought they needed. " she says. "Since meeting Donna, I have evolved.”

Using the principles of Communication Across Barriers, Moreno has positively impacted her community in several capacities over the last 10 years and has also been working closely with Dr. Beegle in various capacities. Her first time working with Dr. Beegle was when she assisted in establishing the Amarillo Opportunity Community, a program that has served over 2,200 adults and over 4,000 children of these families. Since then, she completed the Beegle Poverty Coach certificate in 2010 and has been a Beegle Speaker since 2014, speaking across the country to various organizations. Moreno also serves as Dr. Beegle’s National Program Director for the Opportunity Community program. If you are interested in implementing the Opportunity Community model in your city, please contact Elia Moreno at Elia@combarriers.com.

Moreno has also found time to write two books about her experiences with serving people in poverty. “Living Intentionally: Mastering the Art of Impacting Others in Just 90 Seconds” was released six years ago. It details the strategies she learned to connect with people she serves. After years of working with people in poverty, her more recent book,“Permission to Rest,” discusses the process of growing weary of serving. “We need self-care to continue to allow compassion,”she says. Books can be purchased as www.noexcusesu.com.

In addition to overseeing the Living Intentionally Community center and working with Dr. Beegle, Moreno also serves her community and country in several other capacities. She currently is Co-Executive Director of Texas Christian Community Development Network. She is also the National Director of Community Outreach for the No Excuses University Network of Schools, a growing network of 250 schools that promote college readiness for all students, especially those living in poverty.

In a future newsletter, we will ask Moreno to reveal the super power she possesses that gives her the ability to manage so much responsibility.

Author: lynda on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 11:23

SACRAMENTO, CA ~ Nurse's Small Changes Lead to Big Impacts for Patients and Community

Danise Seaters and Dr. Beegle

Nurse's Small Changes Lead to Big Impacts for Patients and Community

At UC Davis Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED), Danise Seaters has seen a lot in her 16 years of working as a Nurse Practitioner. What impacts her most are the patients that repeatedly visit the ED and seem to get lost in the medical system. “Many of these patients have some form of health insurance, but have never seen a primary care doctor—so access to the ED is their only avenue to health care,” she explains. Often these patients are referred to as “frequent flyers” or “non-compliant.” However, Seaters understands that this patient population returns often due to a lack of resources including poor access to primary care, inability to pay for required prescriptions or necessary specialty clinics, difficulty understanding discharge instructions, and other poverty-related barriers—such as not knowing how to maneuver the health care system and not having the time it takes to establish a primary care doctor.

Wanting to do more—and at the recommendation of her sister, a public education administrator—Seaters attended the 2019 Stockton Beegle Poverty Immersion Institute. The experience not only changed how she provides medical care and interacts with patients, it has given her the inspiration to lead change in the community and foster improvements on healthcare outcomes for people struggling in poverty. “I have always wanted to give better care and felt for those in need." says Seaters. "After hearing Dr. Beegle speak, I knew I wanted to do even more.”

Small changes in her practice have led to big impacts. “Before, I treated symptoms and medical conditions. Now, I treat patients. Now, my interactions are drastically different since becoming more poverty informed,” she explains. Her new strategies incorporate building rapport, validating struggles and experiences, assessing patients for poverty-related barriers, tailoring discharge instructions, and connecting patients to resources.

For professionals who say they do not have time to ask questions or who may feel uncomfortable asking questions, Seaters offers this solution: build rapport and save the most sensitive questions until the end of your time together. One way to build rapport is to simply share information about yourself. “I told one patient who was a single mom that I had been raised by a single mom. I tried to show her that I understood how hard she was working to provide for her family. After that, it was easier for her to open up to me and share her struggles. Then we were better able to provide a good plan of action for her and her family.”

Asking personal questions is easier if you help the patient feel comfortable, explains Seaters. She does this by validating their experiences, finding common ground, or just listening. “Once I have heard what they are going through, I can say something like, ‘It sounds like you are working really hard since you have two jobs and work every day of the week.’ ‘When it is really cold outside, that is a very difficult time to have nowhere to go.’” Seaters credits her new approach to working with patients to the concepts she learned at the Beegle Poverty Institute. “Having gone through Dr. Beegle’s training definitely changed how I interact with patients. It only takes a few minutes to help people feel validated.”

"Before attending the Poverty Institute, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable asking questions or screening all of my patients.” Seaters explains. “But, the institute allowed me to have a better understanding of poverty and how it impacts people. I now have the ability to assess and connect with my patients in ways that avoid unintentional harm."

"If you are not asking the right questions, you can not fully understand someone's needs,” Seaters says. Not only does she ask a patient about their medical history, she asks all my patients if they have access to a primary care doctor and how long it takes to get an appointment with them. She asks them more personal questions such as ‘where do you get your food’ and ‘do you have transportation for follow-up care.’ She even asks questions about employment: ‘Are you currently working? How many jobs?’

Personal questions may be hard to ask, but they are critical to care. “As providers, we tell people to eat healthy, nutritious foods. But these are often costly. We need to ask our patients what foods they have easy access to, because they don’t always have choices," Seaters says. “Once we learn about the options they have, we can provide more appropriate instructions on what foods to eat and how to prepare them.”

Seaters also asks if they have money to pay for their prescriptions. "This helps me to choose cost-effective medications or alternatives that they may be able to afford. My goal is to develop obtainable options for them."

Traditionally, patients living in the crisis of poverty do not expect to get help outside of an ED doctor’s medical advice, but Seaters wants to change that. She tells the story of a young woman who came into the ER because she was scared she might be having a miscarriage. After building rapport, Seaters asked her questions about a prenatal provider to treat her during her pregnancy and where she was living. At first, the young woman was reluctant to answer the questions. But as she became more comfortable with Seaters, she disclosed that she was homeless and had been worried that her baby would be taken away from her. Seaters explained that it was her job to help her and that there was no social worker there to take her baby. Seaters connected her to the resources she needed to have a healthy baby, got her access to prenatal care, and discussed programs such as WIC.”

In addition to improving her own practice, Seaters has stepped up as a leader in her community by working to create better community partnerships. Her recent work includes coordinating partnerships between the hospital and community resources for those struggling in poverty. “We have become more aware of what resources are available in the community," she explains, “and try to connect my patients with them when appropriate.” Because of her efforts, UC Davis’ Emergency Department now has government funded “Health Navigator Representatives” to help connect patients to primary care doctors, social workers, and others in the community that can provide resources. She would also like to work with the California State Legislature to improve resources for people who are homeless.

Seaters plans to continue her leadership with the goal of creating a more Poverty-Informed community that improves healthcare outcomes for people in need. She does this by providing poverty awareness lectures and education to local organizations. She is also working to bring Dr. Beegle to Sacramento to conduct a Beegle Poverty Immersion Institute for hospital staff and community organizations. Seaters concluded, “Poverty awareness has drastically transformed me and how I deliver care to my ED patients. I recommend that all civil service personnel seek out poverty awareness to improve our outcomes. Together we can make positive change to those living in poverty.”

Seaters' Strategies in Action

All of Seaters’ new strategies are highlighted in a story about a patient who was in the ED for an upper respiratory infection. First, she did a quick search in the electronic medical records and saw that he had been into the ED a few times recently for the same issue. He could have followed up with a primary doctor, but instead he was back at the ED. This led her to believe that he may have some barriers to accessing healthcare. After talking with him for a bit, she learned that he was not working and that he had just recently been released from prison—three months earlier—after 26 years of incarceration. After sharing this information, he promptly diverted his gaze to the ground and stopped making eye contact. He speculated, “Lady, I am pretty sure you think I’m a bad person.” Seaters firmly told him, “No. You paid your debt to society. It is not my job to judge you. I am here to provide medical care. So, how can I help you today, Sir?” Seaters continued to ask questions such as how he was adjusting to life after prison. He got teary and told her that he could not find a job. He was 46 years old and a lot had changed. He asked, “Can you believe we don’t have payphones anymore?”

Seaters continued asking questions—learning that he earned a GED in prison. “I acknowledged all the hard work he must have done and told him he should be proud of obtaining his GED.” After Seaters validated his experiences, the patient went on to reveal that he did not have a home and was "couch surfing." He also revealed that he did not have a primary care doctor. At the end of the meeting, Seaters connected him to a primary doctor and other resources in the community. He was emotional and said, ‘Thank you for treating me like a human. It's been a long time since someone has.”

Author: lynda on Tue, 01/28/2020 - 14:11

RAPID CITY, SD ~ City Imbeds Over 300 Certified Beegle Poverty Coaches to Provide Foundation for Rapid City Prosperity Initiative

Rapid City, SD

Rapid City, SD Embeds Over 300 trained Prosperity Coaches to Eradicate Poverty

You can visit Rapid City, South Dakota, but you may not see them -- over 300 Prosperity Coaches embedded throughout the city. They don't wear a uniform, but they are there, trained and ready to respond to people in the crisis of poverty. This unique approach to eradicating poverty, based on the work of Dr. Beegle, has proven to be successful in this town of 74,000 residents.

The effort to become Poverty Informed began six years ago when the John T. Vucurevich Foundation invited Dr. Beegle to train staff and community partners on poverty and to get the conversation started on eradicating poverty. Out of this, the “Prosperity Initiative” was born, a community-wide initiative to become more poverty-informed and create long-term sustainable change for individuals and families. Since then, gover 300 individuals throughout the city have taken the time to participate in Dr. Beegle's Poverty Institutes and have been certified as Beegle Poverty Coaches, or "Prosperity Coaches," as the foundation and city refers to them.

We spoke with Jess Gromer, Program Officer, and Jessica Olson, Program Associate, of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation who tell us that since bringing Dr. Beegle in, the community has been transformed. Organizations collaborate together more than ever before. Prosperity Coaches continue to make progress. They meet regularly to address barriers clients are experiencing and have improved organizational polices and created access to resources for people struggling.

“It is still a buzz word in our community to be Poverty Informed,” says Olson. Being Poverty Informed means that individuals share a common language that bring them together for the common goal eliminating poverty and striving to create an environment where everyone thrives. “It really is a collaborative effort to help individuals get over the barriers they face,” says Gromer.

On average, about 35-40 coaches meet monthly to discuss working with families and individuals who are experiencing poverty. “Coaches are highly integrated into the community,” says Olsong. “They brainstorm solutions, encourage one another, and discuss policy changes to help remove barriers for people who are struggling.”

Policy change is one area that Prosperity Coaches have made an impact. “Western Dakota Tech (WDT), our local technical college, has really embraced becoming poverty informed,” says Olsong. “The entire faculty and administration went through Dr. Beegle’s poverty trainings.” The college now has a Student Success Center, staffed with Prosperity Coaches who provide support services and connections to community resources for students in need. Among those resources, WDT has developed an emergency food pantry and has started an emergency fund. "When students are experiencing a crisis, they don't have to automatically drop out for the semester,” explains Olson. “Instead, there are now trained individuals to help students through those barriers.”

Brand new access to housing for people struggling is another achievement this Poverty Informed city is proudly anticipating. Through a collaborative effort from multiple individuals and organizations, three housing towers are under construction – one tower for families, one for men, and one for women. The project, called “OneHeart,” is expected to be completed early 2021. But the community knows that housing alone is not enough to help people move forward. The towers will have space to provide on-site wrap-around support. The services will include building relationships with residents and connecting them to healthcare, mental health services, and education and job training to help them move out and stay out of poverty. “With a collaborative approach to services and supports being available in one location, this will provide hope and healing to move families and individuals out of poverty,” says Olson.

Gromer says that the foundation has really changed since bringing Dr. Beegle in. "We are really making sure we look through the lens of poverty when we make decisions on what we fund," says Gromer. She recalls the first time she heard Dr. Beegle speak. “It definitely opened all of our eyes to working with individuals coming from poverty ... I absolutely learned a different perspective--particularly when it comes to generational poverty. It changed my approach.”

Author: lynda on Wed, 01/22/2020 - 12:57