Ausha N. Jackson, director of the Albany Strive2Thrive community organization speaks at the noon Friday Exchange Club of Albany meeting.
ALBANY, Ga. -- The way out of poverty is to get a hand up -- not a handout, said Ausha Jackson, Strive2Thrive program director.
Jackson's spoke Friday at the Exchange Club of Albany's lunch meeting, explaining how the program works while asking Exchangites to become involved.
"Two years ago, Forbes magazine named Albany as one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the United States," Jackson said. "Our sign logo shows two hands representing a hand up not a handout."
The hand up comes with work by families way below poverty lines, Jackson said. Using a 16-week course, the Strive2Thrive organization with the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce teaches the way out of poverty to motivated families and individuals who want full-time employment.
Participants are expected to set goals in areas such as budgeting, education, career planning and relationships. Skills that others take for granted, such as dressing for success, using a credit score and writing a resume, are taught.
The program requires that participants have a high school diploma, a GED or be enrolled for a GED. The program encourages post-high school education and training for trades.
"We have had 35 families enrolled and will have another 15 in the fall," Jackson said. "Thirty-one families have successfully completed the 16-week course. That is a 91 percent success rate. Many have gotten jobs and promotions. We are really changing lives and hope you will take the time to get involved."
People can get involved in many ways including volunteering as "allies" who set aside three hours a month to work with families.
The Exchange Club made $500 donations to Graceway and The Anchorage alcohol and drug addiction organizations at the Friday meeting.