12 Craig graduates have plans to overcome poverty
November 7, 2017
CRAIG — Overcoming poverty takes more than hard work, according to Kristen Olson, of Moffat County United Way. It also takes a plan, resources, attitude and community — some of the tools graduates obtain from the organization's “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World” program.
The latest, and eighth, class graduated Monday, Nov. 6, with 12 people successfully completing the program.
The celebration brought graduates, their family and friends and United Way board and staff members together to share a meal.
Chrystal Peterson, a former graduate of the program, was a co-facilitator and was also honored for her work and dedication.
"We are excited to help each family," said board member Donna Stover.
The program provides training and tools to communities trying to mitigate the individual and social consequences of poverty.
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"People from all economic classes come together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes and support those who are moving out of poverty," Olson, the program's coordinator, said.
The nine-week course is part of Bridges Out of Poverty, developed by Ruby Payne — an expert on the mindsets of economic classes and overcoming the hurdles of poverty, according to her website ahaprocess.com.
"The cure for poverty is not just about learning how to budget. Poverty is also an attitude, and people have to learn how to relate to others," said United Way Board Member Frank Riddle, who attended Monday's celebration.
According to Data USA, in 2015, the most recent reporting year, fewer people in Moffat County are impoverished than in other areas of the country, however, it poverty remains pervasive in the area.
- More than 11 percent of area residents live below the poverty line, which is lower than the nearly 15 percent national average.
- The largest demographic living in poverty are females age 25 to 34, followed by males age 25 to 34.
- In 2015, full-time male employees in Garfield, Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties made 1.51 times more than female employees.
- The most common racial or ethnic group living below the poverty line in Moffat County is White, followed by Hispanic or Latino and American Indian.
Poverty is not only an individual problem; it impacts families and communities, with social costs related to poor health, crime and welfare.
It's also about basic American values, said graduate Brandon Mullen in a short speech he delivered. He urged the audience to see everyone as equals so "together, united, we stand and fight poverty."
For more information, to make a referral or to register for the next course, call Kristen Olson at 970-326-6222.
Registration is open through Dec. 29
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.