Positively Naperville, The Power of Moving Up

Loaves & Fishes: The power of moving up

The Power of Moving Up
by Mary Boulos, Director of CARES Programs at Loaves & Fishes Community Services

“This is not for the weak!” That is the consensus about Loaves & Fishes’ Moving Up program according to this year’s program graduates. Please allow me to explain.

Moving Up is a 20-session workshop where Loaves & Fishes clients explore the impact poverty and low wages have on their lives. Trained facilitators help Moving Up participants discover what it takes to go from just getting by to Moving Up by building resources for their financial future based on their plans and goals for their life. Clients who are accepted into this program commit to making changes where necessary on their road to self-sufficiency. Ultimately, the clients who choose to dedicate energy and time to this program are choosing to invest in their futures.

While poverty can be a generational problem, it can also have a sudden onset due to unanticipated events such as job loss, a divorce, illness, or you know…a PANDEMIC! Some Moving Up participants are already equipped with grit, tenacity, hope, and a bright vision for their future, but just need a jumpstart to help them tap into resources in the community to help them realize their dreams. Enter Moving Up! In reality, it takes a village to make this program a success. This program year’s particular village was composed of volunteers who provided a nourishing dinner before each session, donors who helped fund this CARES program, and generous professionals and local nonprofit agencies who took the time to discuss topics vital to self-sufficiency. Some of the subjects covered included nutrition, mental health, and financial fitness.

I’m proud to say that previous graduates have achieved various feats such as securing a job or obtaining a better job, starting their own business, improving their credit score, developing a plan to reduce debt, and becoming proud homeowners.

This month we are celebrating the class’s graduation and we have high hopes for them. We are confident that they too can realize their dreams by utilizing the tools they have gained from Moving Up. They are strong and determined individuals who have the support of Loaves & Fishes and our local community behind them.