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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Loaves & Fishes: Opening up at ‘Moving Up’


by Mary Boulos

Loaves & Fishes recently celebrated the success of another graduating class of the Moving Up program. This transformative 20-session workshop addresses the profound impact of poverty and low wages on participants’ lives. Guided by trained facilitators, Moving Up empowers individuals to transition from living paycheck to paycheck to proactively “Moving Up.”

The program’s critical initial step involves a self-assessment, enabling participants to uncover and utilize their strengths and internal resources. This introspective process identifies areas of life requiring nurturing and guidance, aligning with each participant’s goals. The effectiveness of this journey depends on participants’ honesty with themselves, fostered by the supportive community within Moving Up, where individuals can open up and find the courage for the challenging journey toward self-sufficiency.

The camaraderie formed among participants was evident in tearful (but happy) speeches during the graduation ceremony, where graduates not only spoke of their goals but also highlighted the impactful relationships developed within Moving Up. One graduate expressed, “I assumed this was just another course with assignments, but I experienced being in a community of determined women aiming to end poverty for their families.” Reflecting on her journey, she added, “In life, you dream of becoming debt-free, owning a home, and having an amazing career.” Quoting Milton Erickson, she emphasized the importance of setting goals within a timeframe. To facilitate this, Moving Up invests significant time in helping participants create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).

While financial improvement is a common goal, Moving Up takes a holistic approach, addressing eight wellness domains: financial, emotional, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, and occupational. This comprehensive perspective ensures participants achieve not only financial empowerment but also overall well-being.

Celebrating this year’s graduates, some have already realized their goals, such as paying off credit cards, securing higher-paying jobs, and incorporating healthier habits into their daily routines. The anticipation grows as we eagerly await the continued success and transformation of Moving Up graduates, as they turn their dreams into tangible realities.

Mary Boulos is the Director of CARES Programs at Loaves & Fishes Community Services. Contact her at mboulos@loaves-fishes.org or visit www.loaves-fishes.org.

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Loaves and Fishes
Loaves and Fisheshttp://www.loaves-fishes.org/
Loaves & Fishes is an anti-poverty, hunger relief agency that serves the western suburbs of Chicago.