02 Feb VIDEO: The Pathway to a Stable Life – 10 Assets
I think the first question we have to ask ourselves is the why. Why are we doing this? Why does Shepard exist? And we have said, “We are here to help families break the cycle of poverty.” We know that there are multiple assets needed, but faith is the key starting ingredient for us. And so we believe not forcing anyone, but encouraging them to have faith in a God who loves them and cares for them. We’ll provide them the opportunity to move forward in life.
I think that they’re leading the charge when it comes to health in this neighborhood. They take the time to connect with more than one health care agency and have done a really good job bridging the gap between the different hospitals and the neighbors. They brought a paramedic into the field to identify the over utilizers of 911 and figure out why do these folks keep going back to the emergency room?
So support is just the idea that you have people and relationships in your life that when something happens, when you’re in a time of need, or even in a time of joy, that there’s those people in your life that you can call for help or can celebrate life’s joys with.
Emotional stability is probably one of the most important assets. I think it’s the ability to deal with our emotions in a positive way, and to not be destructive to themselves or to their friends and family around them.
We look at mental acuity as far as academics, both excellence in reading, writing, math. We really believe that regardless of where our students come from, they are capable of achieving excellence. In addition to that is good, critical thinking skills and conflict management.
Models are something that everyone needs. But especially when we’re looking at children and youth. Models is something that it’s vital. If you don’t have a model in your life, someone to show you how to do something, then you can’t learn it. I think to be an effective model, you have to have a relationship with the person.
I think self-advocacy is critically important for someone to break the cycle of poverty. It gives someone the ability to ask why and to push for something different, how to advocate and navigate systems that you’re not used to, to be able to do that in circumstances or intimidating systems is really important to be able to see a different outcome.
The knowledge of dominant culture is understanding that there are rules that govern behavior in society. If you grew up in poverty, you may have to learn an entirely new set of rules when you go to school in order to be successful at school. And then as you get older and as you grow, your lack of understanding of how organizations function and how to get things done. So many times, I’ve seen kids fail to take steps that my children would take sort of intuitively. They would just sort of know, who do I need to speak to and how do I get this kinds of thing done?
Future orientation is that ability to look at your life and say, “This is where I want to be in five years, in 10 years. These are my dreams. These are my goals.” And not maybe if kind of a language, but in a… This is what I want to do. This is what I will do terminology.
For a shepherd, we can help stabilize with income. And so a lot of our families aren’t worried about how they’re going to get to work or school. For Shepard, that’s where we come in, not to just create some stability, but create some upward mobility. We have what we call our Center for Working Families. We allow our neighbors to kind of own and take responsibility for the paths that they’re taking. That’s one of the reasons we call it coaching. Education is throughout all of our programs. It’s a big part of our Center for Working Families.
Our mission is not about helping people raise income. Our mission is about helping people raise their stability. And when stability rises, what I call upward stability, when that rises, money usually follows,
I hope folks begin to experience the future. The next chapter of Shepherd Community. What’s key in our future and the future of our neighbors is to help them break the cycle of poverty. We want to put our emphasis where we’re getting folks out of the need to be dependent on us. So we’ve said, “Okay, then everything we do has to be building the assets in their lives so they can move from that life of poverty to a sustainable life, to one that they are making good choices and have the ability to make good choices. And now we say we’re called to help move you along. We don’t want you to be totally dependent on us. We want to come alongside and be your brother and be your sister and help you in the journey.