Single Momz Rock, a support group for single mothers, and Central Assembly of God in Springfield have teamed up to create a program to help people out of poverty.
"Empowered for Life," the pilot program, will focus on single mothers in poverty and started this week. Organizers hope to expand the services to men and entire families.
Ten local women were chosen to participate in a series of educational classes and are paired with community mentors to help them develop and implement a personalized action plan to lift them out of poverty.
"It puts people in a position that they can better themselves," said Janelle Reed, founder of Single Momz Rock.
Participants will follow lesson plans and textbooks from the Getting Ahead series by Philip E. Devol.
Every week participants will learn about different topics like social classes, causes of poverty, how to build individual and community resources, and create a personal plan to getting out of poverty.
"For example, even just like a small thing for somebody in poverty to be able to communicate with their kids' teachers or principals. That is a big issue for a lot of them," said Anthony Matrone, outreach coordinator at Central Assembly. "They are used to being talked down to. This will give them the confidence to know how to talk."
Central Assembly paid for the textbooks and is providing childcare and dinner for the participants.
The program is modeled after the Circles program in Joplin, which Reed said has proven to be successful. Circles was launched in 2012 and according to UnitedWayMokan.org, the program "creates a framework for people to build intentional relationships across class and race lines with the goal of ending poverty."
Want to help?
Empowered for Life needs women to serve as mentors — or allies — for the participants. Because the pilot program is focusing on single mothers, Reed said she hopes to find middle or upper class moms who might have struggled with poverty issues in the past. Mentors will touch base with the participants on a weekly basis for at least a year.
"It's not about (the mentors) paying for things or providing for them. It's about helping them provide for themselves," Reed said.
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