Community Effort Breaks Barriers to Self-Sufficiency
Self-sufficiency - a goal many strive to reach their entire life, but aren't able to due to certain barriers that are difficult to overcome on their own. That's where Hillsborough County and its Social Services partners step in, including the University Area Community Development Corporation (University Area CDC).
Hillsborough County funds partners with like-minded goals who are embedded within the community to ready those most in need of a hand up, not a hand out. The University Area CDC's STEPS for Success and Get Moving! are two of the programs supported by the County.
Both programs focus on helping County residents with their path to self-sufficiency, but each have a unique way of doing so. STEPS for Success is dedicated to economic independence, while Get Moving! is dedicated to health and wellness empowerment.
Last year alone, Get Moving! and STEPS for Success served 4,600 residents in the University area. Fifty-two percent of Get Moving! members who continuously participated showed improvement in their physical, social, or mental growth within the year. In 2018, STEPS for Success saw 680 clients stabilize their economic independence within 90 days of starting the program.
Helga is one of the many whose successful paths were forged with the help of the University Area CDC.
Helga found herself working with STEPS for Success because her self-sufficiency barriers were having confidence in speaking English and furthering her education to help secure stable employment. Working side-by-side, STEPS for Success connected her with free language services through Hillsborough County Library Services to help improve her English. After practicing every day for a few weeks, Helga was confident enough to work on overcoming her next barrier - continuing her education. STEPS for Success helped Helga enroll in CNA School, and thanks to the help and encouragement of the program she is now working full-time as a Certified Nursing Assistance.
Hillsborough County recognizes helping people build healthy, stable lives makes the community stronger. That is why it ensures that community partners like the University Area CDC have the funding they need to properly serve Hillsborough County residents and support them on their path to self-sufficiency.