TEAMwork’s first training tool was the poverty simulation that puts people into roles where they must survive four 15-minute weeks in Realville. The simulations, led by Carrie Summers, Circles® Coach and case manager, have been hosted more than 70 times, locally and in surrounding counties and as far away as Notre Dame University. TEAMwork’s presence is becoming stronger in East Central Indiana as increasing demand takes the organization into more and more cultural competency training opportunities.
Utilizing some core components from Dr. Ruby Payne’s Bridges out of Poverty work and augmenting it with tools and lessons learned from TQL’s own work in helping people toward self-sufficiency, Understanding People In Poverty and Serving People in Poverty have become courses in growing demand.
Dorica Watson, who serves as TEAMwork’s coordinator and case manager, is offering more and more staff development training for organizations such as the Youth Opportunity Center or Open Door Health Services. Additionally, she speaks at other events such as the Second Harvest Agency Conference and Anderson’s Dove Harbor 20th anniversary.
TEAMwork is also a regional training center for Circles® in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky. TQL is also the informal leader of the Indiana Alliance of Circles and work with organizations in Bloomington, Evansville, Indianapolis, and Scott County. The group hosts an Indiana Community of Practice or retreat session annually. In addition, the Muncie group is coaching new Circles® sites in Holland, Michigan, and Richmond and Marion, Indiana.
This past fiscal year was a year of firsts for TEAMwork (TQL). TQL became a United Way partner, was the beneficiary of Old National Bank’s 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser, and began a retooling process of the Circles® model and the work to help people leave poverty, all of which strengthened the organization and helped sustain the mission: “Empowering people in poverty toward self-sufficiency.”
United Way Partnership Focuses on Income Issues through Training
As part of a partnership with the Alliance for Strategic Growth, the leadership arm of Work One Eastern, TEAMwork was given the opportunity for the first time to be a United Way partner. Both ASG and TEAMwork have been working to prepare TQL Circle Leaders leaving poverty into jobs offered by employers who offer on-the-job-training.
“Our Circle Leaders and those who have transitioned out of their formal Circles have had the opportunity to participate in Work Keys and other in-depth training opportunities through Work One,” said Dorica Watson, Circles® Coordinator. “The first person to complete the program has been in her position for nearly six months, is very happy with the opportunity, and is doing a good job. Others continue to make progress in the program, and two more are ready for placement with two others coming up behind them. We will continue filling slots in the near future” she said. “We are also beginning an evaluation process to measure whether our Circles® community participants have better outcomes in their jobs than people who do not have the same support systems.”
100 Men Who Cook Strengthens TEAMwork’s Sustainability
“Being named the beneficiary of the Old National Bank’s 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser and of the nearly than $80,000 raised could not have come at a better time,” said Linda Gregory, Vice Chair of the TEAMwork board. “We have had peaks and valleys as far as our revenue stream goes and passed through a very difficult time in 2011. To be able to use this money to shore up some leaks to build a stronger foundation for our work, and support struggling families, was invaluable.” TEAMwork staff and countless volunteers helped sell raffle tickets, served as greeters, made centerpieces and got into the spirit of the 100 Men activity. “We were all so impressed with the hard work and dedication of the ONB staff,” said James Mitchell, Board Chair. “They worked tirelessly. The 100 Chefs who prepared their wonderful, tasty recipes and the 1,000 people in the audience made for an exciting evening. We will be forever grateful for this wonderful work on our behalf.”