Just to clarify….
So let me begin by saying the response to our launch of Linking Lives Inc. has been incredible, overwhelming, beautiful, and heartwarming because of ALL of YOU!!! Thank you! Since we started this labor of love, less than 2 weeks ago, we have gathered diapers, wipes, grocery cards, clothing, and furniture along with pledges of support. As a result, we have shown what community is all about to our growing list of clients! The client stories have been tough at times to hear; our policy is to personally meet with all clients, but we feel so blessed to be able to reach out and support each and every one of them in any & every way we can! That, we believe, is the truest form of community support; personal connections & links to real support! That my friends is WHAT WE ARE ABOUT….
On that note, a very wise supporter of ours has recently pointed out that perhaps we need to clarify what we will and will not be doing moving forward with Linking Lives Inc. So in an effort to provide transparency and be completely clear I will attempt to better convey our purpose & mandate. Although that is proving most difficult as we do not want to limit our ability to help people based on THEIR real needs in defining our organization. What we ARE is a grassroots, volunteer based, registered non-profit organization that is seeking to do our part in alleviating poverty in our community! Our approach to doing that is NOT to just hand out money-Social Development does this, it is NOT to just provide food-Food Banks & Community kitchens do this, and it certainly is NOT to just sit behind a desk waiting for people to ASK for help! We will take our organization to the streets and seek out those in need, therefore, we are building an outreach program into our service delivery model. Poverty is a complex social issue and creating pathways out of that life will require more than one service, one agency, or one act of kindness. Further, there is no one agency that comprehensively addresses or delivers all services needed to extradite oneself from an impoverished life. Moreover negotiating the current systems in place is at best confusing and at its’ worst restrictive! What we are proposing to DO is develop “case planning” or, better yet, “life planning” systems wherein we will sit down with clients, identify both short and long-term needs and then follow through with whatever supports are needed. That may be linking clients to appropriate agencies, immediate resources, educational opportunities, counseling, or child care for example; but every case plan will be specifically designed to meet the needs of the individual client. Our clients will never be simply “cases” or “numbers” to us; they will be friends and community members who we are helping get through a difficult time in the same way our friends and families have done for us!
Let’s briefly look at an example; Woman with 4 children flees abusive husband; she can only take 1 bag per person to the local shelter, where her stay is restricted to 30 days & she cannot return home…
Immediate needs– Housing & financial resources, basic material resources, transportation & emotional support.
Long term needs– Victims/Witness services, financial aid, counseling, transportation, child care, educational upgrade, work opportunities, and re-connection to the community.
Agencies needed– Transition house, Police & other Justice Systems, Social Development, NB Housing, Mental Health, Post-Secondary Training & Development, Family Enrichment, Food/Clothing Banks, and/or Canada/NB Student Loans along with numerous others!
Negotiating all these systems is a daunting task, one not easily accomplished without help; I know because I DID IT! The above scenario is actually my own personal story, minus all the gory details, and I know firsthand how difficult it is to get the help one needs when needed. My success is due DIRECTLY to the PEOPLE who supported me through this period in our lives; there were Friends who rode in and rescued us from Ontario, Agencies that provided financial/material supports, Social Workers who encouraged me, Victim/Witness staff who defended me, Police who protected me, Family who lifted me up, and many, many hand holders & cheerleaders along the way. Without any one of which I would not, now be in a position to organize that for others! And this is only MY story; there are many stories, reasons and life circumstances that lead to impoverished conditions hence the reason that, as an organization, we will be flexible, constantly evolving, and re-directing to meet the actual needs our community presents us to.
So hopefully this clarifies for you all what we ARE and what we DO…but if you have any questions please feel free to contact us for more information and PLEASE GET INVOLVED; WE NEED YOU & YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU! Together we can make a difference…