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Vendor success thru community support

Wed, Feb 22, 2012

Jim LoBianco

Many StreetWise participants have been demoralized by past events in their life as well as by the burden of poverty and homelessness. The weight of these challenges can make it difficult for even the most motivated individual to find the strength to keep moving forward. One of the key services provided by StreetWise is identifying resources for our participants as they try to persevere in the face of the obstacles that face them. Making connections to supportive communities is a critical way for the participants to make progress in meeting their personal goals, and it is another way that StreetWise can meet its mission of helping those in need by “providing a hand up and not a handout.”

Last Spring, StreetWise launched the Partners in Success Program. Over the last year, four participants have benefited from this resource. By creating a supportive interpersonal relationship between a StreetWise participant and a community of faith, the Partners in Success Program helps motivated individuals realize their personal goals and achieve financial self-sufficiency.

The Partners in Success Program introduces an eligible participant to a community of faith. The goal is to help the participants increase their self-confidence through supportive interpersonal relationships. The program does not seek financial assistance for the participant or the agency; rather, the focus is on community support. To this end, it is hoped that the participant will be allowed to sell the StreetWise Magazine near the congregation’s facility before or after services.

The relationship starts with the participant being introduced to the community and sharing his or her story and key goals that the participant is working toward. To be eligible for the program a participant must identify three or more personal goals in collaboration with a case manager, (e.g., attend GED courses, create a personal budget, open a savings account, etc.).

StreetWise sends a quarterly report to the congregation relating what progress the participant is making toward goal achievement. This report allows the congregation to help motivate the participant as he or she works to meet the goals. More importantly, the congregation can share in the celebration once a goal has been accomplished.

A participating faith community will need to identify a point person from the congregation to coordinate communication with StreetWise. The community must also be willing to allow the participant to address the congregation on a quarterly basis in order to share his or her progress toward goal achievement as well as permit the participant to sell StreetWise magazine in front of the place of worship at least once a week.

If you know of a faith based community that might be interested in joining the Partners in Success Program, please have them contact me. I would be happy discuss it further. I can be reached at (773) 334-6600 ext. 22 or jlobianco@streetwise.org. I look forward to working together to serve Chicago’s neediest.

By Jim LoBianco
StreetWise Executive Director

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. You are welcome to contact me at either tipline@streetwise.org or (773) 334-6600 (ext. 22).

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