Change Happens After Overcoming Struggle
Conquer the Chaos is an intentional method of building relationships across class and race lines to assist individuals or families in their quest to improve their standard of living out of poverty to self-sufficiency.
This program, formerly known as Circles, began in Scott County began in 2009. Our first “growth groups” were formed and began working together February of 2010. We graduated our first cohort of “pilots” in October, 2011.
A Conquer Group is a supportive, intentional, reciprocal, befriending relationship made up of one group leader who is living in poverty and two to four partners who usually are from middle class. A growth group typically meets once or twice a month to build friendships and to work on the Pilot’s dreams, plans, and goals.
A Team leader is an individual or family with a low-income who is interested in meeting her/his household needs on a consistent basis and becoming self-sufficient. (In general, it takes 200% of the OMB Poverty Income Guidelines for a family to meet its basic household needs on a consistent basis without subsidy. The actual amount will vary by state and by region within a state.) The Pilot is responsible for her or his growth group; convening, leading, and giving and receiving support. The Pilot will work with the Partners to complete her/his plan that was developed in the Growth Group Training class and with the Coach. This training prepares Pilots to take a leadership role in the Growth group and to use their knowledge and skills as problem solvers to work on poverty issues in the community as well.
Team Allies are community members who want to be in a supportive, intentional, befriending relationship with an individual or family working to get out of poverty. Partners work with the Pilots to figure out how to accomplish her or his plan. Within the guidelines set by the Guiding Overseers, team allies do what makes sense and what brings joy to the relationship, and provide team leaders with a link to the larger community. Team allies are trained to be champions and encouragers as a way to work with the team leaders in supporting their plans to move from CHAOS to THRIVING self-sufficiency.
Team Allies and Team leaders build and use social capital across class and race lines to build a healthier community. A special vocabulary is learned to understand the relationships among poverty, economic class, race, and community prosperity that builds relationships of mutual respect.
During team leader training, the trainee learns leadership skills, language and meanings of economic class, poverty, etc. The trainee receives instruction on financial literacy and budgeting, “traps” and “cons” to avoid such as payday lenders or rent-to-own establishments. The trainee also receives instruction on job preparedness, and how to be successful in the workplace. Those in the team leader training are provided career aptitude surveys and are counseled in potential careers to accomplish dreams or goals.
After graduation from team leader training, the trainee becomes the Team Leader and is matched with Team Allies to form a Conquer Group. Each provides support, encouragement and friendship to the team leader as the team leader works to achieve small goals and larger life goals. Some of these goals may involve achieving High School Equivalency, attending community college or a trading school, or perhaps moving through higher education for purposes of a better paying job. Some team leaders will be encouraged as they apply for jobs and move into the workforce to acquire skills to become model employees.
The path that is charted by the team leader varies from person to person. Depending upon the path charted, the ultimate goal is to move from a life of chaos to self-sufficiency; to move from merely surviving to thriving.