A hand up, not a handout; finding a home for the holidays [Paid Press Release]

241 views and 16 shares Posted December 17, 2020

This post is paid advertising by United Way of Lebanon County.

In May of 2020, the unemployment rate in Lebanon County reached a staggering 11.5%. As the economic implications of a global pandemic continue to unfold, community members in Lebanon County need help to find employment opportunities and improve their economic situations.

This was the case for Cristal, a young woman from the Dominican Republic, who lost her job during the COVID-19 lockdown. Cristal is a hardworking and disciplined single mom with a young daughter. When she was laid off from her job in the spring, Cristal began attending P.R.O.B.E’s virtual Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency Classes.

Potential Reentry Opportunities in Business Education, or P.R.O.B.E., is a local nonprofit that helps adults to build their professional capacity through workshops and classes that teach them important skills like resume building, interviewing, financial literacy and asset management.

Cristal was highly motivated and never missed a class. The online course introduced her to a range of topics that helped her to build self-esteem and learn financial literacy. After completing the Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency virtual class, Cristal was so enthusiastic about changing her life that she enrolled in P.R.O.B.E.’s First-Time Home Buyers Program and made the decision to start looking for a property.

Through hard work and dedication, Cristal was able to make her dream of buying a home a reality. For the first time, she and her daughter are celebrating the holidays in their own home.

P.R.O.B.E. is a partner organization in an employment and adult education collaborative called Pipelines and Pathways to Success. The new initiative was made possible by a $70,000 grant from United Way of Lebanon County.

This partnership is a collaboration between several local nonprofits, including the Lancaster-Lebanon Literacy Council, P.R.O.B.E., and Support Connections of Lebanon County (SCLC). Each organization provides a unique service to help solve the complex issues of unemployment and economic insecurity in our community and address the different causes of financial instability.

Through collaboration, these organizations were able to approach employment issues in an innovative and holistic way and seamlessly address barriers to finding and retaining employment in Lebanon County. Collectively, these organizations help to improve financial stability and connect community members with employment opportunities by providing adult education, financial empowerment classes, resume building workshops, social supports and more.

For example, The Lancaster-Lebanon Literacy Council addresses barriers to education by providing High School Equivalency courses, English language classes, digital Literacy assistance and basic adult education. These services help struggling adults in our community to improve their credentials and build their skills to find better jobs and improve their financial situations. The Literacy Council also provides embedded career awareness and exploration throughout the learning process and explicit instruction on how to learn about careers and get on a career path.

Alternatively, some adults may need help building their professional skills and capacity through P.R.O.B.E. classes. These courses teach participants important skills like how to build their resumes, write cover letters, or learn to interview well. Financial Literacy Classes are also available through P.R.O.B.E. to help adults manage their finances through budgeting or prepare for large purchases like buying a home.

Another partner, Support Connections of Lebanon County, provides a mentorship framework to build social capital for struggling adults and families by connecting them with stable, middle-class families in the community who provide support, advice and encouragement.

The Pipelines and Pathways to Success collaborative allows nonprofits to share information and work together as they help individuals and families pursue education, find work and achieve financial wellness. United Way of Lebanon County proudly supports these nonprofits as they work together to build an integrated network of referrals and services for individuals who are seeking employment support.

Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, some services provided by the partnership have been adapted to meet the needs of the community. The Lancaster-Lebanon Literacy Council increased their offering of digital literacy programs as virtual interaction and engagement became more common. SCLC began incorporating outdoor and socially distanced activities into their program, and P.R.O.B.E. began offering virtual courses for empowerment and self-sufficiency, job readiness, financial literacy, and more.

Pipelines and Pathways to Success helps families like Cristal’s to grow their confidence, manage their finances, and improve their lives.

To support programs such as the Pipelines and Pathways to Success Collaborative, donate to United Way of Lebanon County. Support for our social services is critical during this time of crisis. Your gift to United Way supports youth and education, workforce development, and basic needs like healthcare and housing.

With a single gift, you can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of community members. Visit igfn.us/f/2kzo/n or text Give4Impact to 41444 to make your gift today. Donations can also be mailed to United Way – 801 Cumberland Street, PO Box 1164, Lebanon, PA 17042. Thank you for being a force for change in our community as we reimagine, rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Click here to donate.

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