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$2 Can Be More than Gold: Women’s Resource Center and Benevolence Farm Align Efforts to Build Resilience in Women

“You see this, big T [Tiffany, Benevolence Farm Program Manager]?”

Beaming from ear to ear, Anna* looked over at me and held up two one-dollar bills.

“I have had these for three weeks! They have been right here in my zipper bag. Aren’t you proud of me?”  Laughingly, Anna continued, “I should have them framed.”

We drove to the store for ‘Anna’ to pick out her frame. We laughed and chatted walking up to the door. Approaching the glossed, yellow handle, I opened the door, and she led the way. At this point, Anna has earned more than two dollars. She received her six-month sobriety and no longer allows money to control her.  She has completed the Working Smart program, as well as the Women Connecting Women program through the Women’s Resource Center. Anna isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. Once winter arrives and the farm’s responsibilities decrease, she plans to attend ACC to receive her GED.

The spirit of collective impact is one that Alamance County is embracing. Nonprofit agencies in our area are learning that aligning efforts around shared goals is the best way to help eliminate poverty, education deficiencies, limited access to health care and social inequalities that make life a bit difficult for some people in Alamance County.

“It takes everyone working together to create positive social change,” states April Durr, Director of Community Impact for United Way of Alamance County. “Programs like this help to decrease unemployment through career readiness and workforce development — thus supporting our local economy. They also help build soft skills, relationships, and natural supports – thus building resilience.”

In 2008 Anna was shackled to a state hospital bed and holding the hand of a correctional officer. After delivering her child, the baby was immediately taken and put into DSS custody–perpetuating a cycle of foster care placement similar to what Anna experienced as a teenager. In addition to in the traumas of overcoming an opioid addition and a custody battle, Anna had an uphill battle.

Ten years later, Anna is now living at Benevolence Farm – a United Way funded partner. She has participated in 16 sessions at the Women’s Resource Center, gained transferable soft skills from 16 weeks of farming, and has exceeded her personal care plan goals through structured case management with Benevolence Farm.

Now, Anna is employed full-time and can now build resources for her future goals. She has saved to buy her own car, with the help of financial and budgeting case management. With new confidence, Anna has set an educational goal of pursuing a degree and will now start dental assisting classes at Alamance Community College. She has also been working with legal services to regain custody of her son.

Stories like Anna’s show what collaborative partnerships can do. Most recently, Women’s Resources Center and Benevolence Farm have started a new partnership with shared goals to help women in need get on a path to greater success.

“Nonprofits work on complex issues every day,” says April.  It’s easy to focus on the symptoms of deeper issues, but without addressing the root causes, we will not realize lasting change. This success story gives us hope and provides examples of collective impact in action.

United Way of Alamance County works to bring more organizations, donors, and volunteers together to align efforts for the most significant impact. By uniting resources to meet focused goals, we can help our community thrive. With the services of Women’s Resource Center and their partnership with Benevolence Farm to help women receive a fighting chance, there is a chance to contribute more “Annas” around Alamance County. To learn more about how your nonprofit can forge relationships with other nonprofits, contact April Durr at adurr@uwalamance.org.

*Subject’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

To join us in this important work, please support our Community Fund with a donation!