Kristen Olson: We’re here to help someone get ahead
In a community where people are expected to be able to do it all themselves, there is often little patience for those who have not been able to make everything work out successfully. We have a phrase in the West, and an expectation that comes with it: “You have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” Don’t rely on anyone else; no one owes you a thing. But have you actually tried to pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Try it, and you’ll see it is impossible.
People are taught that hard work and determination will solve all problems, but through the work I am doing now, I know this is not always true. While motivation and persistence are important traits, it would be ignorant of me to categorize every person as the same. Picture your life for a moment. Consider your childhood, your family, your adult life and what has led you to today. If you ask friends about their paths, each story would likely result in something different than your own. I know that what worked for me, may not be the answer for someone else.
Through Moffat County United Way’s “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World” program, we recognize each story individually by considering commonalities and differences among the entire group of people accepted into our class. We see our “clients” as problem solvers and we empower them in building their resources. We believe in building relationships of trust and integrity. Through our program, people have someone they can call to talk about options and help develop a new story for their future. The beauty of Getting Ahead is that people can find new answers to the same problems they have solved again and again. I think the real answer is that we must support each other in developing resources; we can help someone find boots, pull them on, and securely begin taking one step in front of the other to build a brighter future.
If you or someone you know is low-income, just getting by, and ready for change, contact Kristen at (970) 326-6222 to learn more. We are accepting applications for the next Getting Ahead class that will begin in late August.
Moffat County United Way is the leader that unites the community towards positive change by strengthening health, education and financial stability for our residents. United Way mobilizes people, ideas and resources to advance the common good for our community.
Kristen Olson joined Moffat County United Way in May of 2016. Prior to that, she was the Site Coordinator at a charter high school working with at-risk youth. Kristen is invested in the success of her community. She has served as a board member on Moffat County Tourism Association, Grand Old West Days Committee, and Connections 4 Kids. Kristen’s background in education and her experience with the impacts of poverty on individuals and families have made her an asset to the organization. Kristen is a certified Getting Ahead Facilitator and a certified Bridges Out of Poverty Trainer.
This week hundreds of teachers from across the United States and Canada are spending five days in Denver to shore up the concepts and importance of Advanced Placement classes in high school. Moffat County High School has been offering these College Board classes for the past five years, which students can begin taking in their freshman year.