Every Step Along the Way…
“Mark” is a kind, hard working young man. He didn’t have a car or access to public transportation, but he did have a job. So, Mark walked five miles each way to work everyday, no matter the weather. When Mark came to us, we knew he needed financial skills, not just a car. The members of our Social Work Assistant Team (SWAT) are trained to handle this exact kind of one-on-one skill development. One member of the team worked along with Mark to develop a long-term financial plan for his future. The plan included starting a savings account at one of our partners, Great Erie Federal Credit Union. Mark now has a savings account and can buy his own car because is eligible for a car loan.
“Lucy” has a young daughter, “Grace”. Lucy has been receiving support from several ROC programs, but is worried about her child’s future. Beginning in September, a team of educational specialists will be going into her home, and many more homes just like Lucy’s, to provide school-readiness training for Lucy and Grace. Studies show that children from lower economic backgrounds hear 30 million words less by the age of three than children from families with higher incomes. Clearly, academic success is greatly enhanced when reading and learning skills are nurtured early. A parent’s ability to help with this success is also enhanced when they receive training too.
These are examples of the ROC model. We do provide charitable assistance, but we use our assistance as the support ROC participants need to begin to identify and establish long-term goals and then work toward achieving those goals. We want to be sure that participants are working harder than we are on their journey toward independence.
Our model is based upon wrap around services to address the situation and person holistically, on the development of skills participants need to reach their goals, and a trusting relationship between participants and the staff and volunteers with whom they work. Our model takes each person and their needs much more into account than many other programs. And the skill development that many of our participants require, and the wonderful relationship that develops, takes a lot of time too. But in the end, the ROC is here to work itself out of a job. Life’s successes are a series of skills that must be learned, just as poverty must be unlearned.
Our model does require more time, effort, and financial support than many others. But we are thrilled that our model has been successful in helping people just like Mark and Lucy in the short three years the ROC has been in existence. We feel blessed and honored to be positively changing the lives of so many. And we are grateful that so many of you believe in us too.
Imagine escaping from a domestic violence setting and having no household goods to start over. Our New Paths Household Goods distribution Center collects donated goods and makes them available to families in need. In most cases participants pay a small amount, donate something themselves or volunteer at the ROC – the first empowering step toward independence for many.
We are preparing 150 school supply filled backpacks for distribution at the end of August. Families can receive free haircuts, eye exams and other services at the pick up event held at the East Aurora Boy’s and Girl’s Club.