Poverty to Payroll Program
Economic Justice for Women and Girls
In search of economic justice for women and girls, especially those arriving at shelter, who have escaped from domestic violence and/or sexual assault, Hands of a Friend seeks to empower this population to become entrepreneurs of their financial futures.
Target Population, Strength Characteristics & Root Causes
The population of domestic violence and/or sexual assault victims arriving daily to our shelter has shown to be either under-educated, lacking employable skills or both. This does NOT mean that domestic violence or sexual assault victims in general are under educated or lacking employability skills. Traditionally women and children, who seek shelter long term in situations of abuse, do so because they have no other avenue available to them. Many of these victims were not allowed to work outside of the home and did not or were not allowed to participate in the financial contributions or decisions in the relationships they fled. A great many of these women have no extended family available to them to either lend comfort, emotional support, or be a source of empowerment for them. For some arriving to shelter, the history of abuse has been generational and they have known no other life from their own childhood to their own adult relationship. Many who return to abusive relationships do so because they cannot support themselves financially independent of their abuser. In today’s economy, two incomes often support one household. For the woman fleeing abuse with small children in tow and without a high school education, it is impossible to support a family with a minimum wage job. Many will then return to their abuser only to fall victim again and begin a life on government aid and poverty.
Indirectly Affected Population
Without the tools of knowledge to ensure their own success in both escaping abuse and moving forward as an independent financial head of household, they leave open the door of opportunity to perpetuate the abusive relationship history with their own children’s futures. Either directly or indirectly, this perpetual dependency on either their abuser or living on government aid and poverty adds to the ever growing burden of the tax-payer to not only support their own households, but those of their neighbor and their neighbor’s children and generations to come.
Shift in Behavior (produced change)
Hands of a Friend seeks to change the education level and successful sustaining employability as head of household for domestic violence and/or sexual assault shelter residents. Through additional education offerings, residents will be afforded the opportunity to remove financial concerns from the recidivism rate of victims returning to the abusive relationship because they cannot support themselves or their children.
Residents of shelter are offered opportunities at all levels of continued education. For some, that may begin with learning English as a second language, completing their GED and/or vocational courses. Hands of a Friend has invited the professional and business community in the surrounding area to become involved in the continued education process of our shelter residents in the program called “Poverty to Payroll.” Businesses and/or professionals are selected in the community for the program, based on their ability to lend their knowledge to a field of employment that would afford the shelter residents the opportunity to find employment or create business opportunities for themselves that would allow them the greatest earning capacity as head of household.
Action Used to Cause Shift of Behavior
A large room in shelter was converted to a 4 computer/education/training/media center. The classroom includes a beginning professional/business library complete with vocational information, grease boards, plasma TV, DVD player, LED projector and screen for power point presentations. The professional and business partners will donate their time once a week to conduct instruction in the shelter classroom. Also, some of the business partners have agreed to include internship and part- time employment when possible.
Field trips to visit on site employment/business opportunities will include, but not be limited to:
• Apollo College
• Apria Health
• Artistic Beauty College
• Brown Mackie College
• Chaparral College
• Green Valley Dental Laboratory
• Mariposa Community Health in Nogales
• Pima Community College
• Tucson Animal Shelter
• Tucson Board of Realtors
• Tucson Court House
• Tucson Sector Border Patrol Offices
• Wells Fargo Banking Institute of Tucson Hands of a Friend shelter,
Genesis House, is a transitional domestic violence and/or sexual assault shelter. A resident may reside in shelter until such time as deemed appropriate for their journey forward to begin. This length of stay will enable them to make maximum use of the educational and employment opportunities provided to them with the program “Poverty to Payroll.” As an example, a resident entering in January could under normal circumstances complete her English language immersion course (when applicable), GED (when applicable) and a twelve-week course of our program, within the first six months of her arrival. Should the resident, at the end of the six months and completion of the program opt to become a licensed *Nail Technician, for example, the course could be completed in 15, 40-hour weeks. A number of service clubs and organizations in the local area have agreed to offer scholarship funding to those qualified for some advanced education and vocational courses and licensing. (Course funding is available for but not limited to: *Nail Technician, Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, and select others.
Research indicates that a licensed nail technician could be expected to make approximately $25.00 per customer, achieving completion of 16 customers per day average would create an income on a five-day work week of $104,000.00 per year, before costs and taxes. This is achievable income for a qualified nail technician with only one year in the industry.
To maximize the use of the classroom and the generosity of the professional and business community, non-resident victim/survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault in the local and surrounding communities are also invited to attend the program on a ‘pre person’ basis with express permission from the CEO of Hands of a Friend.
Evaluation and Collection of Information
Each participant signs a program agreement, with evaluations to include post program 3 month, 9 month, 18 month and 36 month oral interviews on progress achieved. Written exit reviews will be conducted at completion of course. Business instructors will also participate in written evaluation of the course and the success of the participants they employ as interns. The ultimate success determination will be the number of participants successfully employed and living free of an abusive relationship.
*Nail Technician chosen for purpose of example career choice only.