Essentials for Empowerment
At Cornerstone NCT, we know that it’s not enough to simply pay a bill, donate school supplies, or provide any other quick fix to a financial crisis. Self-sustainability is a long-term journey, and we are committed to working with our Neighbors to cultivate positive financial habits with lifelong benefits. That said, we also understand the importance of stepping in to help our Neighbors get through the crisis that prompted them to seek help. By taking a holistic approach to empowerment that incorporates the following services, we’re making a difference today that will continue to strengthen our communities over time.
When Neighbors come to us for help, we meet with them in person to hear their story and get to know them. Our personal approach to case management ensures that we’re getting the full story behind their current situation — not just the resulting symptoms. Sometimes it takes multiple meetings to get to the root of the issue. But by taking the time to accurately identify the source of their issues, we’re better equipped to work with them to chart an effective course of action.
Without exception, Neighbors who come to us for the first time are facing a serious and immediate financial need. Whether it’s the threat of repossession for an unpaid car title loan or a series of delinquent payments that could leave them with no water or electricity, the Neighbors who qualify for our help can count on Cornerstone NCT to provide financial assistance with the things that will best empower them to move beyond the crisis of the moment.
Many of the Neighbors we serve have never created a household budget — and even those who have can be intimidated by comparing how much money is flowing out each month, with not enough coming in. When we begin working with new Neighbors, we ask them to bring in their bills and bank statements, along with their monthly sources of income, and we create a monthly budget. But this step isn’t just a one-time exercise; we continue to redo their budget every other week or every month until their income and expenses become net-neutral. Neighbors are eligible to graduate from our budget accountability program when they have all of their expenses covered, plus $200 in savings.
Support for Job Seekers
Our volunteers provide invaluable support to Neighbors who are searching for employment — helping with resume creation, job leads, and interview skills. If they need clothes for an interview or new job, they can find them at our thrift store. Importantly, we also encourage our Neighbors to follow up with prospective employers on their own. By holding them accountable for their own success, we’re helping them realize that when they accept a job offer, they’ll be able to take pride in their accomplishment.
Cornerstone NCT mentors offer our Neighbors an added voice of encouragement between case management or budget accountability appointments. Through phone conversations and occasional meetings in person, our mentors offer practical advice and guidance to help them stay on track. They also act as a sounding board for our Neighbors as they encounter challenges and frustrations along the way.
Clothing and Household Goods
When we begin working with new Neighbors, we supply a voucher to those that need clothes, housewares, and more at our donation center and thrift shop. The new and gently used items on our shelves and racks are supplied by donors in our community, and the profits from sales to the general public are reinvested in our programs.
Beyond the immediate demands of getting through a financial crisis, our Neighbors have a broad range of educational, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to be met. To meet these targeted needs, Cornerstone NCT partners with a number of community partners to provide these and other services:
- GED Classes
- English as a Second Language Classes
- Vision and Healthcare