POTTSTOWN PA – A first class of six clients, working in a series of workshops conducted by the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, has graduated from its “Getting Ahead Initiative” and begun the process of planning to build private resources and lift themselves out of poverty, the Cluster reported Thursday (June 13, 2013).
The graduates, labeled as “investigators” in the Getting Ahead curriculum, were honored earlier this month (June 6) in ceremonies at Pottstown’s First Baptist Church, where 16 separate work sessions have been held since February. All – Eva Guthridge, Christine Park, Ashley Fillman, Sequoia Phillips, Tabatha Smith, and Shelva Lighty – are residents of Pottstown, and all had been receiving some form of public assistance when the program started, according to the Cluster.
Now, they believe, they are prepared for an “overall goal of building their future story and becoming self-sufficient,” it added.
The Cluster is a charitable organization that supplies food, clothing, community meals and emergency financial aid to hundreds of families in the greater Pottstown area. Getting Ahead is based on materials created by writers Ruby Payne, Terie Dreussi Smith and Philip DeVol. The Cluster researched their work, and discussed the program with other organizations that offered it, some with highly beneficial results.
Earlier this year, the Cluster partnered with First Niagara Bank, the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, The Hill School, First Baptist Church, Cedarville Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Positively Pasta Plus, Redner’s Warehouse Markets and several individuals to launch it locally. It was led by Cluster Programs Manager Amy Rossman and caseworker Ryan Keiser.
Another series of workshops is scheduled to begin in September. Applications to join will be available on the Cluster website.
Photo from the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities