In life things don’t always happen the way you’d expected or frankly wanted them to, but for Tara Roberts becoming an Ally in Thrive! seemed to fit the bill.
“I think definitely it was good timing for me, I always feel like if you’re going through a tough time the best medicine or therapy is to help other people,” said Roberts.
Tara Roberts is a mother of two who works for the Wamego School District as a physical therapist serving schools in Wamego, Rock Creek, and Wabaunsee. She’s always had a desire to help, which is what led her to The University of Kansas where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical therapy in 1987.
After graduating Tara continued working at the KU Medical Center where she spent the latter part of her time pursuing her bachelor’s degree, and coincidentally where her life took a very positive turn.
“I worked at the KU Med Center after graduation for about 2.5 years and actually is where I met my husband John, he was a patient of mine in the burn unit which was where I was working at the time.” said Roberts.
John and Tara eventually moved to Manhattan where he pursued a degree in the construction field and she began working for a local contracting company who placed her in various assisted living homes working as a physical therapist. As they built their life in Manhattan they added two children to their family in Dylan and Tessa as well.
In May of 2017 John lost a battle with cancer that left Tara leaning on family, friends, and her church for support as she grieved the loss. But she also felt that desire she’s always felt, the desire to help others and that’s where her involvement with Thrive! began.
“It had kind of been on my radar for a while, and a good friend of mine (Tana Warner) had become involved with Thrive! and she convinced me to volunteer and get involved with the organization and I’ve been involved ever since,” Tara said.
Now working with her second Leader, Tara knows the impact that Thrive! can and has had on Leaders who pursue completion of the program.
“I really like the principles behind Thrive! helping people get out of poverty but not in the traditional way, but instead the idea of helping people stand on their own two feet and giving them those resources and support and not just a quick fix. Really delving in and finding out what we can do to improve all areas of your life.”
Thrive! is designed to provide Leaders with the tools necessary to, well thrive in their environment and expose them to the numerous resources our community has to offer, but for Tara Roberts it’s more than just that.
“I would say Thrive! gives people hope. That’s what I really see as far as change. A lot of people that I see come in and I think they have just lost hope, they think that things can never get better, but they can.” said Roberts.
Could you survive a month in poverty? What choices would you make? Join us for a poverty simulation on Saturday, March 21st from 1-4 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 801 Leavenworth, to find out!
Poverty is pervasive in our community. According to USD 383, 29% of students in USD 383 (Manhattan/Ogden) qualify for free lunch, meaning their families make less than 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (2,034/7,018 students) and 205 students qualify as homeless. 20.7% of all individuals in Riley County live below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which for a family of three is $21,330. The Centers for Disease Control list poverty as one of the greatest causes of disparity and inequity in health. The toxic stress of poverty has been found to be associated with deleterious outcomes in learning, behavior, physical and mental health.
Thrive! is working every day to alleviate the stress of poverty for families in our community. The first step is to increase awareness of the problem and how many families are struggling to survive in Riley County. The Poverty Simulation, co-hosted by Thrive!, First Congregational Church, First Presbyterian Church, and First United Methodist Church, will provide you with an interactive immersive experience to help understand the challenges faced by those in financial poverty. We are limited to 80 participants, so sign up today at www.thriveflinthills.com/events.html.
Would you like to better understand how living in financial poverty affects individuals and families? Are you possibly interested in volunteering as an Ally for Thrive!? If so, please join us for a FREE Bridges Out of Poverty training. This highly interactive training will give you the tools you need to more effectively work with individual and families living in financial poverty.
Thrive! is a poverty-reduction program that works to alleviate poverty through positive and long-term relationships fostered in a safe and consistent place. The program builds life skills and resilience across generations.
Please contact Jayme Morris-Hardeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-376-0032 to sign up for one of these three repeated sessions, all held in the Groesbeck Room of the Manhattan Public Library:
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