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Put Me In, Coach!

August 30th, 2018

Thanks for stopping by the Director's Blog. For this entry, I hope you'll enjoy this guest piece by UCOM's own BettyBeth Johns

By BettyBeth Johns

It’s challenging to reach - even set - life goals when you are mired in crisis and dysfunction.

While Mr. and Mrs. Jones are contemplating the latest investment options on their 401K, Ms. Smith is wondering how her $11.00 an hour store clerking job is going to pay for her son’s tutor and her daughter’s glasses. Mr. Smith was killed driving home from work a couple of years ago.  There was no insurance and life has been steadily piling up on her since.

Our mission: We find a way

Our mission at UCOM isn’t about finding fault or resenting others’ successes.  We don’t know what others are going through. Our mission focuses on helping ALL people to rise to a standard of living that provides sustainability and quality of life.

Scenarios at social service agencies are as unique and complex as the individuals that live them out. A catastrophic illness, a company downsizing, a death in the family, an addiction or a youthful lapse in judgment can result in years and years of chasing stability. Multiple barriers to success can make the journey daunting and soul-depleting.

With limited capacity (staff, funding, equipment, etc.) nonprofits are challenged to provide consistent, ‘best practice’ services to a widely diversified and marginalized population.  WE FIND A WAY. Our work is possible because we are good at leveraging resources and partnerships in a supportive community of philanthropy.

What is coaching?

At UCOM, as with many of our partner agencies, coaching is the primary tool we use to build others up without enabling a dependency on support.  

Coaching is not counseling.  It is not charity. It is not ‘fixing’ or ‘rescuing’.  Coaching is a process of asset mapping and problem-solving that allows a participant to explore what lies at the core of their presenting need and to tap into a personal skill set that moves the individual toward personal wholeness.

A good coach sees the potential that is veiled in pain or insecurity and helps guide the participant to self-determine solutions. Impactful coaching unlocks potential and potential creates energy and energy leads to productive contribution to community.

Life coaching, work skills coaching, financial coaching, educational coaching… all areas of the work we do strive to help individuals identify the capacity that lies within. We help people to sort out the chaos of their life crisis and begin to envision a meaningful future.  Once HOPE takes hold, and one believes in their power to forge a personal destiny, goals are more readily articulated and a plan for success can be mapped out.

What success looks like

We may or may not see the fruits of our labors and while our funders prefer to see outcomes, we know that often a ‘disappearing’ client means life is better and their need for our help has been resolved.  

Imagine Molly, a middle school basketball player.  She’s never played; she feels gangly and awkward. She tried out for the team because she’s been longing to belong…to something. And because there are no team cuts, she finds herself at practice, and then on the bench and, eventually (if she’s had a good coach) in the game.  Once insecure about her looks, her ability, her everything, she now passes the ball with confidence, shoots when she’s open and celebrates the victories that she’s contributed to accomplishing. Her coach celebrates, too, because Coach knows that what made Molly successful on the court was unlocking the talent and, more importantly, the confidence to set personal goals and reach her potential on and off the court.

It’s hard work to become who we are capable of being.  Coaches can help. Thank you for supporting our team.

Comments

#1 Your Name: said:

Thanks for painting an important picture for us, Betty Beth.

#2 Rylie Houtsma said:

Why is this organization deserving of people's time, talents, and treasures? Why should people get involved?

#3 Bruce Roller said:

I'm so glad that you asked, Rylie. Here are some bullet points that will help me to respond to that. It is such an important question, however, that I will write a future blog posting with a more complete response. UCOM is deserving a people's time, talents and treasures because our neighbor's well-being is our North Star. Every program and activity of the organization is based on the question, "How effective an impact will this have on the lives of the people who look to us in time of need.
People should get involved because (1) we offer our services without discrimination and without judgment; (2) this is a community (and beyond) effort; (3) it is a good way to build community. More than 800 volunteers give time each year, sometimes many hours to provide the hands and hearts needed to reach out more than 8,000 individuals who utilized our Healthy Choice Food Pantry. (4) We don't stop with giving nutritious food to people who otherwise might not have it. We offer programs and services that help people, at some point, not to need our emergency services. For instance (5) Job coaching and navigation of the complex employment systems in our community; (6) Soft-skills job training through volunteerism; (7) nutrition and cooking classes; (8) community and individual gardens and gardening classes; (9) exercise classes for a broad spectrum of abilities; and (10) a Summer Learning Academy for 2-4th graders to prevent summer learning loss. In February we will begin our 25th season of income tax preparation for people with low income.Last year that resulted in more than 1/4 of million dollars in returns to 200+ individuals--money back in their pockets for paying bills and meeting needs.
This is the tip of the iceberg. My next blog series will answer your question more fully. What would you look for to determine whether a service organization is derving of your time, talents and treasures.

#4 Bruce Roller said:

Wow! I would have read my previous comment more closely before publishing it if I had known that I didn't know how to edit it after publication. Here's what I meant to write.


I'm so glad that you asked, Rylie. Here are some bullet points that will help me to respond to that. It is such an important question, however, that I will write a future blog posting with a more complete response. UCOM is deserving of people's time, talents and treasures because our neighbors' well-being is our North Star. Every program and activity of the organization is based on the question, "How effective an impact will this have on the lives of the people who look to us in time of need?"
People should get involved because (1) we offer our services without discrimination and without judgment; (2) this is a community (and beyond) effort; (3) it is a good way to build community. More than 800 volunteers give time each year, sometimes many hours to provide the hands and hearts needed to reach out to more than 8,000 individuals who utilized our Healthy Choice Food Pantry. (4) We don't stop with giving nutritious food to people who otherwise might not have it. We offer programs and services that help people, at some point, not to need our emergency services. For instance (5) Job coaching and navigation of the complex employment systems in our community; (6) Soft-skills job training through volunteerism; (7) nutrition and cooking classes; (8) community and individual gardens and gardening classes; (9) exercise classes for a broad spectrum of abilities; and (10) a Summer Learning Academy for 2-4th graders to prevent summer learning loss. In February we will begin our 25th season of income tax preparation for people with low income. Last year that resulted in more than 1/4 of million dollars in returns to 200+ individuals--money back in their pockets for paying bills and meeting needs.
This is the tip of the iceberg. My next blog series will answer your question more fully. What would you look for to determine whether a service organization is deserving of your time, talents and treasures?

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