I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
I have spent a fair amount of time reading and studying community models that address the eradication of poverty one household at a time. Poverty is more than a lack of income. Poverty is a lack of resources, such as income, social capital, housing, transportation, child care and more. Poverty, especially generational poverty, has numerous contributing factors. However, the agencies and resources available to assist those in poverty are limited.
Because of these realities, The Salvation Army of Pickens County strives to do the most good for our neighbors with the resources we are given. We believe in maximizing the donations our community entrusts to us.
We apply an “ACES” Core Standard to every program and service we provide. Asking ourselves these questions as we serve a defined need within the community:
- Accountable: Are we able to track measurable improvement and economic mobility through the efforts of our program?
- Collaborative: Are we partnering with other agencies/resources to ensure our neighbor has access to a complete cycle of available services?
- Empowering: Is our program/service empowering the neighbor to earn his/her way, change his/her choices and avoid repeating the same crisis where possible?
- Sustainable: Will our program/service result in a sustainable circumstance for our neighbor? Will our neighbor be able to maintain their household?
In my years of experience, I have found collaboration to be the most effective of the main core standards. Collaboration with other agencies helps extend the support we provide to our neighbors as they earn their paths to freedom. This social support increases efforts to define expectations and set goals. By working with other agencies, we can share support and reach our neighbors’ needs through various relationships. Collaboration allows us to address our neighbors' many needs and to extend greater support for longer periods of time.
Many of our neighbors have an immediate crisis but also an underlying mindset that has contributed to the crisis. Many times, the immediate crisis is the first step, and the real work is creating a new thought pattern for making better choices. The probability of success increases with a better mindset, and a network of community support can help neighbors sustain their new mindsets.
We see a spirit of collaboration in Pickens County among agencies like social services, churches, health care systems, civic organizations, catastrophe response and more. These segments of our community rub elbows with our neighbors experiencing poverty, just at different points of time. I have seen these groups reach out to one another, combining resources and strategies where possible. This collaboration reduces duplication of effort and fills gaps in service. This collaboration also establishes the need for big picture advocacy for all the puzzle pieces involved in ending poverty, such as transportation, affordable housing and increased mental health care. By investing in these service and non-profit entities, Pickens County sees a return on investment as our neighbors being walking along their individual pathway of Hope.
As our Mission Planning Study moves forward, we will complete a community-wide assessment of needs in Pickens County. We commit ourselves to sharing all that we are able to glean from this process. We will share the results of our assessment and development objectives with County and City governments, health care organizations, universities, mental health/behavioral agencies and more.
We will also work closely with the United Way of Pickens County, who is currently undergoing a similar assessment. Together, we will compare our assessments and compile results with data from the Upstate Continuum of Care Point in Time Count. By combining our results, we will have a broader and more accurate picture of Pickens County and its needs.
Please consider filling out the assessment survey here; we need as much input from our community as possible. The results of these efforts will help us develop contingency and strategic plans to address proper next steps and to resolve obstacles of independent living. I am encouraged by the foundation of collaboration that already exists in Pickens County, and together, we can help lay the groundwork for continued community success.
To God be the glory,