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An Update on CHLOE’s Place—Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

 

Imagine, you are young and alone, from a disadvantaged home where abuse and poverty are rampant—and you are pregnant. Your education and life skills are minimal and you have no idea how you will care for your infant and support the two of you. Where do you go for help?

There is a safe haven for you where you will learn how to care for your baby and pick up some employable skills along the way. That place is CHLOE’s Place. CHLOE’s Place is a unique concept dedicated to equipping young mothers with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to continue their education and become personally fulfilled and socially responsible adults while promoting positive parenting, healthy families, and homes where children are valued and loved. The director, Connie Nafziger, RN, is a former Community Health Nurse who quit her job over ten years ago to dedicate her life to finding answers to breaking the cycle of poverty.

I first wrote about CHLOE’s Place exactly one year ago (see CHLOE’S Place Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, January 27, 2011) and since then a lot of exciting things have been happening for Nafziger and her team. I recently received an email from Connie excitedly asking everyone to post a link to a survey on their Facebook page and to forward it to all their contacts so they can gather important information to help guide their project. The survey was designed by a professor at Capital University as an undergraduate research project to benefit CHLOE, Inc.  and now, she and her students are ready to launch. Connie says the survey will provide wonderful insight they long to have. The more responses that are received the more successful the project will be. They hope the data gathered from this survey will more accurately help them determine the needs of single mothers.

If you are a single mother, or have been a single mother, then please take a few minutes to answer the survey below. I also ask all my readers to please post this survey on your Facebook page, Twitter account, and/or blog so they might be able to get a wide variety of responses. The survey takes only a few minutes to answer and the results will go a long way in developing a tailor-made program to help young single mothers care for themselves and their babies while equipping them with skills to break the cycle of poverty.http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SingleMothers

Please help with this worthy project.  YOU can be a link in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Below is a personal letter from Connie further explaining CHLOE’s Place and its mission.

  

            On leaving my position as a Community Health Nurse, having served hundreds of young mothers and their children, I knew the course was set for the rest of my career.  I determined to establish a not-for-profit organization able to equip others with health and life skill education; CHLOE, Inc was born in 1999.  A wealth of experiences has prepared us well.   In 2008 we expanded and refined our focus to equipping young single moms with the education and life skills they need to prevent and break cycles of poverty. They are guided toward educational opportunities and life choices that create opportunities for self-sustainability.

             In 2011 we launched Chloe’s Moms Connection, an Advocacy program for young single moms; piloting different formats and opportunities.  We learned a lot about the challenge of engaging young women in classes and what they value.  Having assessed the challenges and researched other options we are transitioning to a “Learn & Earn” model this month.  Parenting, Life skill, or Childbirth Preparation lessons completed with an Advocate are awarded with ‘CHLOE Points’ to be spent at Chloe’s Closet!  Our ‘closet’ is stocked with infant & toddler clothing, diapers, and other essentials and treats.  We are inviting pregnant teens to enroll.  Four young moms currently enrolled will no doubt be joined by many others in the coming months.  We are grateful to Sharon Woods Baptist Church (5959 Sharon Woods Blvd, Columbus) for providing space for Chloe’s Closet and classrooms.

            As an advocate for victims of abuse, I gained understanding of the plight of women  and children living in abusive or high risk environments.  This fuels my determination to establish a residential program.  Once Chloe’s Place,  is established, young moms needing a safe place to live for a couple of years while working on educational, relational, and career goals will be provided safe haven.  Such an ambitious plan requires a firm foundation; we work daily to make sure it is indeed sound and enduring before we open our residential program.

     A Five year strategic plan has us on a positive trajectory to accomplish our mission.  CHLOE’s Advocacy, Community outreach/education, Residential program, and a Micro-enterprise (to meet at least 51 % of our operational budget) are in the works.

   Our mission is practical, our visions is achievable, our purpose worthy.  You are invited to join us in this journey to equip young single moms and pregnant teens in whatever way you are able.                                                                            

                                                                                                               

Blessings & Peace,                                                                                                                                          ConnieNafziger,RN                                                                                                                                Founder/Executive Director

 

To learn more about CHLOE, Inc. see  www.chloeinc.org

Director’s Blog:  www.chloespath.blogspot.com

Email: connie@chloeinc.org

Monthly E-Note:  provide your email address

 

 

 

I MISS THE FRONT PORCH SOCIETY

Lasanga. Tasty.

Image via Wikipedia

My niece called last night very upset. She had taken a break in her hectic holiday preparations to spend the day devoted to her neighbors. Her thanks for all her efforts was a simple “thank you” and the door slammed in her face.

Neighbors on both sides of her had had babies within the last several weeks. Wanting to be a good neighbor, she went shopping for appropriate baby gifts and a package of diapers and then made a pan of her special home-made lasagna for each neighbor. She even included baking directions and the recipe in case anyone had food allergies.  Arms full of goodies, she and her three-year old son went next door to make her first delivery. The husband/new father met her at the first home, took the offerings, said “thank you” and closed the door. Ditto for the second delivery however he included a “God bless you”. There was no offer to come in and see the baby or even a friendly “how ya doin’”. Even her young son observed the cold reception.

In trying to analyze what happened we looked at several possibilities. In both cases it was the husband/father who answered the door so was it just a guy thing? Also, in both cases they were of different races so was it a racial or cultural thing? Were they so shocked that someone was actually reaching out and trying to be a good neighbor they didn’t know how to react?

During our discussion she made a comment that really made me think. She said she was used to sitting on the front porch and waving and saying “hi” to everyone who passed by that she thought everyone did the same. Yes, we were raised in a front porch community. We knew all of our neighbors and spoke to people walking down the street. Even if we did not know the people we would smile and nod.

Front porch communities are now a thing of the past. Most new homes haven’t had front porches for many years. We retreat into our environmentally controlled homes and many times don’t even know our next door neighbors. Gone is the Norman Rockwell world where children can play freely. Today we are afraid of molesters and drug addicts roaming the neighborhoods. We are caught up in our own busy lives and fail to think about those around us. But what kind of community do we have when neighbors don’t know neighbors? What kind of world are we creating? This isolationism only opens us up to more crime. If no one is looking after us we are vulnerable to those of bad intentions.

My disappointed niece said, “I don’t get it, I was just trying to be a good neighbor.” In this holiday season let us all try to take time to be a good neighbor. Smile and say, “hi”. Offer to look after their place while they are gone for the holidays, offer to take in their mail and newspapers. Take them a batch of homemade cookies. We will be much safer if we take time to look after each other.

It seems we are light years away from Norman Rockwell’s ideallic world but bring back the front porches and perhaps we can recapture a portion of that world. A simple smile and, “Hi neighbor” can do wonders. The next time someone brings a batch of cookies or pan of lasagna to your door at least invite her in. It could be the beginning of a great friendship.  As the Good Book says, “Love thy neighbor.”