Monday, September 22, 2008

Relationships needed to break poverty cycle

Relationships needed to break poverty cycle
By John Pierce
Baptists Today

ATLANTA-While soup kitchens and clothes closets meet some basic human needs, something more personal is needed to counter poverty, said one who lives and works among the poor.

"We need football games, where we can play together," said Jimmy Dorrell of Mission Waco, a multifaceted ministry with impoverished persons in Central Texas.
Relationship-building is the first and most important step in discovering ways to help break the cycle of poverty, he told participants in a special interest session Feb. 1 during the New Baptist Covenant celebration.

"You should have friends who are poor," said Dorrell, who along with his wife, Janet, bought a home in an economically deprived north Waco community 28 years ago, raised four children and built long-term relationships with neighbors.

Mentors, who build relationships with and help guide those seeking to improve their lives, are an essential part of the decade-old Christian Women's Job Corps and its counterpart, Christian Men's Job Corps, said Cara Lynn Vogel of Woman's Missionary Union of North Carolina.

The job-training ministry sites are separate by gender and vary in emphasis by location, Vogel said of the WMU ministry efforts in which "women mentor women and men mentor men."

"The issue of poverty can be overwhelming," said Vogel. "But more importantly, we need to talk about solutions."

The solutions found in the Christian Jobs Corps efforts are built on mentors encouraging and enabling participants to develop through spiritual nurture, health and nutrition, education and job skills training.

Vogel told of an African-American woman, pregnant as a teen, whose experience in the program led to setting and repeating new goals. Today she is a pharmacist serving as a mentor to another woman at one of the sites in North Carolina.

(Read More: Here)

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