Thrive! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of reducing poverty by building skills and relationships that strengthen families and individuals. But what does that actually mean? Read on to find out how Thrive! works.
Leaders are those working to leave poverty behind, and Allies are community volunteers who walk along the Leaders for 18 months to provide emotional support and encouragement. For Thrive! to function properly, we require a safe place, relationships, and life skills. We all meet weekly on Tuesday nights for dinner and eat as a community. If you visited us (which you are always welcome to do!), you would not be able to easily differentiate between Leaders, Allies, and volunteers. While we are not a faith-based program, we are fortunate the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan provides us with their Harris Activity Center for our meetings. This safe place helps us do our work and build relationships.
Relationship flows through all components of the Thrive! program. Leaders develop relationships with staff, Allies, and other volunteers and build those relationships both on Tuesday nights and throughout the week. Consistent youth volunteers provide relationships to more than 25 youth involved with our program. When new Leaders join our program, the one area of their life where they consistently struggle is social support, particularly support for the Leader making change in their lives. One of our Leaders described herself as climbing out of a pit while those who knew her before Thrive! stood at the bottom of the pit grabbing at her legs and pulling her back down to the person she was before.
Only once a safe place and relationships have been established can learning and change begin to occur. New Leaders join our Getting Ahead class where they explore their resources and have a chance to look beyond today to their future story. We ask them to think about their dreams and goals, and through relationships, we help the Leaders make them a reality. After graduating from Getting Ahead, Leaders are matched with Allies. Education doesn’t end there, as we have 18 months of learning as we help our Leaders build skills necessary to thrive in their lives.
If you would like to join us in our work to end poverty in our community, we have a place for you! Susan Wendland coordinates our volunteers and youth programming and serves as the central point of contact for all who want to participate! Email Youth.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-376-0032.
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