South Bend, Indiana
Since 2004, Stone Soup Community has had 3000+ individuals and families per year that come through its doors seeking assistance. According to the Alice Report, St. Joseph County has a population of 266,000 and poverty rate of 15%. That is nearly 40,000 individuals struggling to afford basic needs. Our Family Development and Case Management Program's mission is to empower vulnerable individuals and families to move toward self-sufficiency. We serve a low-income population in St. Joseph County, the majority of whose incomes are less that 150% of the FPL. Clients work 1-on-1 and in class groups with case managers to envision, set and achieve goals. Areas of need where education and counseling will assist them in becoming economically and emotionally stable are evaluated.
The information offered in the classes will slightly overlap and build upon each partners area of expertise. This gives our participants new knowledge that will help their lives become more stable. As the back bone organization, Stone Soup manages the project and the participation data. We will also facilitate the program by coordinating the scheduling of classes and in finding new topics of interest. We also plan to include an early child development series to empower parents, grandparents and significant adults with knowledge on early childhood development in collaboration with South Bend Community School Corporation.
It is our goal to build relationships with these families in order to assist them with becoming self-sufficient. We plan to do this through classes which include the strategy of utilizing emotional intelligence theory, 1 on 1 counseling, providing financial literacy classes and GED information, bus passes and gas cards.
Currently we are conducting our emotional intelligence classes, "Crafting Your Best Self" utilizing art as a form of expression. For the month of June it is painting. Our emotional intelligence topic for this month are "Assertiveness," During this month our clients are introduced to colors utilizing the primary colors to build other colors. They are being taught to associate colors with their emotions and encouraged to create colors on a canvas that shares their view of themselves. This interaction encourages engaging conversation with the Family Development Case Manager as well as provides an insight of other areas of interests or concern. For the month of July the topic will be "Gratitude," with T-Shirt Design as the craft. T-Shirt design encourages creativity in addition to providing a unique garment to display in a practical way. For the month of August the topic will be "Mindfulness," with Latch hooking as the craft which encourages detailing and focusing on specific outlines and colors. For the month of September the topic "Defining Emotional Intelligence and its significance," the craft is decorating with beads which will provide and intricate detail way of defining specific decorative ideas. The last for the month of October is "relaxation techniques" utilizing the skill of knitting as a form of relaxation.
In addition, this summer, Stone Soup Community is conducting "Ready for Work" classes as well. The duration of this program is for 2 months.
The program benefits are
· Custom Resume
· Help with Job Search Transportation
· 2 week bus pass or gas card
· assistance with 2 utility bills
· job readiness educational classes
· assistance with job-related fees or expenses
The class topics are
· Income Needs Assessment
· Money Management
· How to dress for your interviews
· Emotional Intelligence in the workplace
· Resume Building
· On-line Job Searching
· Communication Skills