Think about plants. They all have certain requirements necessary for life and growth. For a healthy plant you need light, air, and water; the right temperature; and a good balance of minerals and nutrients in the soil. Conditions that lack any of those elements will make for poor development, reduced production, and maybe even the death of the plant. And plants are all different. Some require lots of sunshine, while others love the shade. Some need a lot of water, and others, like the cactus, will thrive in drought conditions. People are like that too. You may have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and his stages of human development. Maslow says that man’s first needs are, like for the plants, the basics of air, water and nutrients. If those elements aren’t present a person can think of little else besides getting those basic needs met.
Here at the township our approach is to first address a client’s basic needs—food, clothing, and shelter. When those are met we can focus on the next step—the client’s economic security—by helping them to secure employment. Another of Maslow’s needs is to feel respected, by ourselves, and by others, and having a job helps a person to achieve that respect. Being unemployed often leads to a loss of self-respect which starts a vicious cycle of unemployment, low self-esteem, inability to find a job, and often to just giving up.
Our clients are all different, and they have their own individual requirements for optimal health and growth. In our office, each applicant is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Everyone seeking township assistance is required to complete an application. From that information we can verify a household’s income and use the applicant’s receipts to see how they’ve spent their money. Some clients do well handling their money, and they may just need assistance to get over a temporary setback. Other clients don’t do so well at handling their money. The investigator works one-on-one with each client to create an individualized budget to help deal with their unique situation and abilities.
Along with the Application for Township Assistance, a client completes an employment form detailing their skills, education, and job history. This information is forwarded to our Employment Department that continuously canvasses the city for potential jobs and employers. We provide weekly job skills training classes. Some clients need to create resumes, need to improve their interviewing skills, or need job leads. Our Employment staff offers help with those needs. Some of our clients have a great deal of education, including college degrees. Some have very little education. We often help clients enroll in class to complete their GED, or in an “English as a Second Language” class. We try to improve every client’s basic skills to increase their chances for finding employment.
Our Community Resource Liaison is familiar with the assistance that other organizations in the community provide. When an applicant completes our process and still has need for further assistance, the Community Resource Liaison is able to point them to those other organizations who may be able to provide additional assistance.
A primary goal of the township trustee is to help clients find jobs and move from “Assistance to Independence.” I sometimes say “We all arrive at different times,” and I mean by that that different people take different lengths of time and amounts of effort to get to that independence. Here at the township we see our role as helping our clients to achieve their independent status by encouraging and assisting them toward their own self-improvement and personal growth.
Latest posts by Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee (see all)
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