TCC News
Read how Mary received her GED with the help of the Circles of Support Program.

DiplomaIn October 2009, TCC began its Circles of Support (COS) program. This purpose of COS is two fold; first to help move participants toward greater self-sufficiency and secondly, to engage the community around poverty related issues. The COS program exists in Morrison, Todd and Crow Wing counties.

 

Mary had just been laid off from her job as a personal care attendant at a facility in Alexandria, MN. Her husband Jeff had been unemployed for nearly a year. With two small children and no income, Mary knew that she must find both a short term solution to keep the family in their home as well as a long term solution to procure a better income for her family's sustainability. She knew that the key to this was getting her GED.  Her long term goal of being a nurse began with the first step of acquiring her GED.

 

She was paired with Doris, a local woman, active at the Senior Center. Doris is a widowed 76 year old woman, who did not receive her GED until she was 55 years old. All of collective agency wisdom could not understand Mary's situation in the way that Doris did. TCC was able to provide GED study materials and Doris provided the personal support.  As of this writing, Mary has completed her GED testing and is waiting for the results.  Even if some sections need to be retaken, Mary is on track to achieve her goal of obtaining her GED by the end of May 2010.  Recently, we have begun discussions about enrolling Mary in the FAIM program, allowing her to save money to begin her LPN courses in the winter of 2010.

 

As a result of Mary's success and her increased confidence, her husband has begun looking into the transportation and technical classes at Alexandria Technical College.  Mary's new found confidence has also been translated into a renewed sense of joy and pride in parenting.

 

Read Sarah's Encouraging Circles of Support Story.

Desk and BooksSarah was referred into the COS program by one of TCC's Family Service Workers. She is the single parent of two small children, one of whom receive Early Head Start services and the other attends one of TCC's center based Head Start programs. Sarah has struggled throughout her life with both mental health and chemical dependency issues. She did not complete her High School education and has not been able to maintain steady employment. Sarah remembers that one of the people that was kindest to her during her growing up was a Head Start teacher, consequently, she has dreamed about becoming a teacher herself. 

 

Through COS Sarah has been paired with both Leslie and Jodi. Leslie is a local business owner who has a tremendous passion for kids and her community.  Both of her grown children attended Head Start and she feels like volunteering with TCC is a way to help others like she was helped. Leslie is also a local business owner who worked for Head Start at one point in her life. Both of these women have been invaluable in Sarah's life.  Not only do they support her in her sobriety and parenting, but they also encourage her in her continued work on her GED. Sarah is on track to finish her GED by the end of summer 2010. As Sarah gets closer to completing her GED, Leslie and Jodi will help guide her in choosing Early Childhood classes and securing funding for her education.

 

TCC provides tax clinics in Little Falls, Brainerd and Long Prairie. Read Robert and Mary's success story.


CalculatorTri-County community Action, Inc (TCC) has completed its third season of providing tax clinics in Little Falls, Brainerd and Long Prairie, providing state and federal tax filing and helping clients receive Earned Income Tax Credits. Tax clinics were expanded to serve additional people in 2009, including an increased emphasis on serving the senior population in need. The clinics are operated in collaboration with AccountAbility Minnesota, a nonprofit taxpayer assistance program.

 

In 2009, TCC has filed 564 returns and has helped tax clients receive $617,680 in refunds. CSBG has provided funding for staff to support the operation of the program.

 

In addition to the scheduled tax clinics that take place during tax season, TCC continues to provide services to help people deal with ongoing situations. For example, this summer the Internal Revenue Service referred Robert and Mary, a senior citizen couple who has tax filing problems initially dating back to 2004. Mary has ongoing medical problems with doctor's appointments as often as weekly. Robert and Mary have medical insurance premiums that cost over $1000 per quarter. Their medical issues have caused stress and have distracted them from attending their tax situation. After preparing returns for 2004 through 2008, TCC has now gone back to 2003 and filed a return for that year as well. Robert and Mary have begun making payments, are now getting caught up and have peace of mind, having resolved their tax situation.

 

TCC's Self Employment Program business loan addressed Sally's needs and helped her fulfill her dream.

HaircutWhen Sally came to TCC, she was working part-time for minimum wage and had just switched to the night shift in order to increase her earnings. She had been unemployed for more than three years because of a harassment lawsuit filed against her former supervisor. Her Husband had extensive health problems and was on social security disability, but was still attempting to find some type of work to help out the household.

 

Sally wanted to own her own business, utilizing her skills and experience and love for working with elderly people. Sally's goal matched TCC's participant outcome of individuals starting their own businesses. She worked with Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) to get back her beauty operator license and also met with the Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College to help with financial planning. Sally negotiated with a new upscale elderly high-rise to put her shop in their building. Sally received a business loan through TCC's Self Employment to purchase equipment and supplies.

 

TCC's Self Employment Program business loan addressed Sally's needs and helped her fulfill her dream. Sally is now self-sufficient, continuing to provide for herself and her husband.

 

Molly was able to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to fulfill her dream.

HighwayMolly is a collaborative success story for TCC. She is a single parent with a severe disability who initially got involved with TCC's Head Start program for her daughter In the beginning, Molly had a lot of barriers, but was willing to work to the best of her ability to overcome them. Molly was living in a subsidized housing and was unable to keep a job due to her disabilities. Molly's big dream was to work and live in a house of her own. We worked on setting goals that Molly could achieve which would inspire her to continue.

 

Working with Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) and TCC's Transloan program, Molly was able to secure employment, develop a budget and work on her credit. Her diligent work paid off and TCC was able to make Molly a car repair loan so that she could continue to get to work. Molly's newfound strengths kept her on the road to success. She has paid off her car loan and also has secured a home of her own. Her home needed some work and Molly received help from TCC's weatherization Program to assist her.

 

Molly was able to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to fulfill her dream of employment, housing and a secure future to her daughter.