You’ve probably shaken your head at some point, wondering sadly if there’s really anything that can be done about systemic poverty. Perhaps you’ve heard of a program called NETworX but have dismissed it as “just another thing someone’s trying.” Or maybe you’ve even thought about taking the training, but haven’t been motivated to do so yet.
Perhaps the following will inspire you.
Maria, a young mother, is a "Champion" in the Carson City, Nevada NETworX program. (Champions are people who want to improve their standard of living – indeed, their lives overall – and who commit to attending 12-16 weekly meetings, in which volunteers known as “Allies” walk alongside them.)
Here, she writes of how her life has dramatically changed, thanks to her Allies in the First United Methodist Church of Carson City, who have helped her overcome obstacles and reach goals.
Transformation does happen when congregations walk with the poor, in a meaningful friendship that goes beyond just “doing things for” poor people.
My name is Maria. Before I found NETworX, I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. I felt stuck. I needed money; I didn’t see a future. I had no car. I could barely make ends meet with my income at the time. I had a home, but it needed so many repairs just to keep it habitable. I had dreams I never believed I could accomplish, and I didn’t know where to start to begin my journey. I had bad credit and unpaid debts, and I didn’t have a bank account because I was afraid my wages would be garnished. So, I lived my life in fear, waiting for my bad choices to come knocking at my door.
Through NETworX, I have learned to see my environment differently. Allies, who are now my friends, helped and advised me to see how to solve difficult situations, instead of hiding in fear. I have learned to have goals. Before, I did not know how to get back up after a failure. I have learned to admit I need help and ask for it. It’s easier with a team in my corner, and NETworX is my team. I can give you an ongoing list of all I have learned, but it would have no end. As I continue to attend NETworX meetings, I find myself more capable of confronting difficult obstacles.
The life skills I have learned are abundant. The moment I walked in the door to my first NETworX meeting, I learned so much that I continue to use daily – and will use forever – such as setting S.MA.R.T. goals, making lists, and not beating myself up when things are not achieved immediately. Budgeting has also been important, along with knowing the difference between wants and needs. I’ve learned not to make impulsive purchases, to instead buy consciously and wisely, to make a plan and stick to it.
More than anything, I need to thank my Allies for their wonderful help and advice; without their help, none of this would be possible. They helped me to work through uncomfortable situations at work and advised me on how I could make them better. I can honestly say I am still a work in progress.
Before, I was always very reactive, defensive, sarcastic, and honestly intolerant. Meeting in NETworX every week, I have learned to be more understanding of other people and less judgmental. I just try to be more upbeat and am also being more open about my life.
The skills I learned and the support from my Allies prepared me to take on greater responsibilities at my work. My boss could see that I was taking initiative to improve myself professionally, and when an opportunity happened to open up, I was officially promoted to the Lead position. Since then, I have started working towards an associate degree in Business at Western Nevada College. I am seeking out seminars to gain new skills, so I can continue to grow and advance and prepare myself for the upcoming opportunities and challenges in the next chapter of my life.
Want to be a part of someone else’s lifechanging experience? As a first step, sign up to attend a NETworX Orientation! One is coming up, in fact: it’s being offered at Pioneer United Methodist Church in Auburn, Nov. 12-13.
The registration fee is $25 and does not include transportation and lodging. To register for this event, make checks payable to Carson City First United Methodist Church, and mail to the church at 400 West King Street #100, Carson City, NV 89703.
The event is sponsored by NETworX Western Regional Training Center and the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Download flyer (includes agenda) here
For more information contact the Rev. Maggie McNaught at firstname.lastname@example.org
– or the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats of the Conference Committee on Children and Poverty at email@example.com
, or by phone at 775-220-1787.