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A TWO YEAR CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMOur MISSION is to take a holistic approach to help individuals deal with and eliminate barriers and challenges that cause poverty so they can create their own pathways to a better quality of life for themselves and their families, living to their fullest potential. The intersection of poverty with issues of race amplifies the struggle for Black and Hispanic groups. In the USA, the average Black and Hispanic households earn about half as much as the average White household and own only about 15 to 20 percent as much net wealth (Brookings Report April 2022). Stress over raising children, paying bills and basic survival strips away one’s capacity to pour into themselves and their families in crucial ways, like health, fitness/nutrition, and mental and emotional wellness. Because the causation of poverty is not just finances, Connect & Serve’s holistic approach helps our members deal with the traumas of poverty. We do this by working with the “whole” person. Too many people of color shoulder this burden for multiple generations. We seek to nurture their hopes, their creativity, and their dreams so they become transformed to wellness and prosperity. WE OFFER Three programs that are intentionally designed to impact the thinking and actions of members and participants: Community Cafes & Conversation is a strategic platform used with the concept of “it takes a village”. Attendees gather to discuss relevant issues that concern them like barriers and challenges that hinder their success and the success of their families and communities. Through this venue, individuals collectively create solutions to problems that are impacting their daily lives. They receive resources and learn strategies to advocate for what they want and what they need in a safe and judgment free space. The dialogue is provocative and creates opportunities for everyone to be heard. Additionally, this program offers workshops in parenting, financial literacy, social emotional wellness and so much more. Empowered to Change is for member participants only of Connect & Serve. It’s a two-year holistic program that offers assigned coaches who work with members to help them deal with the causation of their own poverty: They receive coaching and mentoring as part of their accountability toolkit. In this program members are required to create their own pathway to wellness and prosperity with guidance from a team of professionals and experts who are committed to walk with them to their success. During this program year, members are working on transformative actions through self-reflection: discovery, challenge and change. They can create a pathway plan that includes nutrition/health and fitness, therapeutics like art and journaling as well as one on one counseling. Members can add education and career goals to their plan and Connect & Serve will match them with business mentors who will work with them on those goals. Beyond the Wall is the final leg of our two-year program. Once a member is successfully demonstrating change, they are offered more opportunities to work on other parts of their personal and professional development. This could mean a job that is proving to be a career. Access to higher education and ideas for those who desire to become entrepreneurs. Every individual has passions and skills that make them unique. Our partners seek to help personalize each member's two-year journey towards their strengths by supporting their courage to explore their life's possibilities. Our coaches create a private space for our members to grow and discover where they are challenged to change as they define what success means to them. This holistic approach directly impacts the families of our members in a positive way by helping to break generational curses and transform our communities as they create their pathways from poverty to wellness and prosperity.
Connect & Serve is provocative, and we take a revolutionary approach to the "win-win" concept. We know successful people do not achieve success on their own. They all have and have had someone who believed in them and made the sacrifice to walk with them in their journey. At Connect & Serve, we along with our partners are that someone for our members. We are coaching and mentoring with training, skill building and other support. We are growing our partnerships with commitments from small and minority own businesses. Our partners get an opportunity to build capacity and scale their businesses as they commit to Connect & Serve and to our members respectively.
Our partners are diverse and include other nonprofits and small minority own businesses. We work with our partners to provide a variety of services that our members ask for as they create their pathway plan. We aim to work with partners who are serving the same demographics in most of the same areas. We believe HJS can provide volunteering and mentoring support as well as guidance to those member who aspire to become entrepreneurs.
Connect & Serve was started in March of 2022. Though it is, a “start up”, the work and dedication of what it is doing is not new. It is a rebranding of the work that Connect & Serve’s Founder and her partners have been doing this work for years. Their service to others is not a job, but their philosophy that guides their way of life. For the volunteers and leaders at Connect & Serve, it is a value system as they strive to take its programs to a higher level of holistic healing and to prove that systemic poverty caused by welfare and welfare to work programs are not all there is. Individuals and their communities can bloom, once barriers are removed. Those barriers can be replaced with wellness practices, skill- development, credit building, homeownership and entrepreneurship.
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