‘Part of the solution’: Moffat County United Way celebrates graduates of poverty program | CraigDailyPress.com

‘Part of the solution’: Moffat County United Way celebrates graduates of poverty program

CRAIG – Nine more people have a better chance of getting ahead rather than just getting by after graduating an 18-session program that empowers people to become self-sufficient.

“The program has helped me to further define my action plan for becoming a freight broker in the trucking industry, and one day owning my own business,” said graduate Joann Salazar in a speech during a graduation ceremony held Nov. 15 for participants of the Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin'-By World.

People who have incomes of 200-percent, or below, the federal poverty guideline are eligible to participate.

Salazar said: “… Poverty had become such a normal way of living that, aside from winning the lottery, I didn't have much hope for that to ever change.”

During the 18-session program, held twice per year, individuals who are living in daily instability investigate their lives and their community to learn about and start to establish resources — such as workforce skills, money management, and goal-setting — to create a plan to develop a brighter future.

“I now know essentially I can make a difference by voting, attending community board meetings, volunteering, supporting businesses in our area, taking a stand on local issues, and advocating for positive change,” Salazar said. “It gives me much pleasure to know that, by these means, I have the ability to be a part of the solution as opposed to a part of the problem.”

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Graduates also receive support from the Moffat County United Way Community Impact Coordinator Kristen Vigil for two years through monthly group and one-on-one meetings.

"Graduation is a special event for our investigators. For some of them, the class is the first commitment they have completed in their lives. Getting Ahead is a robust program, and we love to celebrate their accomplishments," Vigil said.

The program has now graduated 130 people through the course of 10 classes.

The Community Impact Program is accepting applications for the next class, which will begin in January.

For more information about Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin'-By World class or the Community Impact Program, contact Vigil at 970-326-6222 or kristen@unitedwaymoffat.org.