RESET Builds Personal Connections and Long-term Stability

  • Rikki Mioduski
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After coming to ICS for financial assistance to pay her bills, Charlene seized the opportunity to participate in one of our newest programs at ICS. Charlene entered the RESET program with the hopes of making life better for herself and her two teenagers.  Recently, Charlene worked with Maryann Moulinet, the RESET Program Coordinator, on an application for Habitat for Humanity’s housing program.  Thanks to Charlene’s persistence and Maryann’s support, Charlene’s application was accepted, and although she still has more steps to complete, Charlene is getting closer to obtaining an affordable home – a pivotal accomplishment for her family.

The RESET program was designed for people just like Charlene. Recognizing that people often require more than just a little help now and then, the program was created to provide long term support and help guide them to stability. In addition to offering participants financial help, RESET also gives them learning opportunities and tools to navigate through tough times. Budgeting and planning are a part of it, but networks and social support make up an important portion of the program as well. And, in perhaps the most notable segment of the program, dealing with grief recovery. This aspect of the program acknowledges that trauma is often behind some of the barriers to thriving. But the best part of the program for Charlene has been the support system at ICS, including her regular meetings with Maryann.

According to Maryann, “Self-sufficiency isn’t just about having a good job, but it’s also having affordable housing, good medical care, good childcare. It incorporates so many things, and it takes time.”

For people to attain long-term financial stability, they need more than just short-term emergency assistance. The RESET program connects participants to the resources they need to overcome their barriers to self-sufficiency while providing regular coaching and a level of personal connection that, for Charlene, has made all the difference.

“It’s been good to have somebody on my side,” Charlene says. “Maryann is a really amazing person. She’s been there through everything.”

Charlene was coming out of a divorce when she was referred by her faith community to the RESET program. Her sustained relationship with Maryann and other ICS staff has empowered her to recognize the fullness of her self-worth. She wants more for herself because she knows she deserves it. This attitude has been fueling Charlene’s accomplishments, and she attributes it partly to encouragement from ICS.

To say that Charlene has been working hard for herself would be an understatement. Habitat for Humanity requires 250 hours of “sweat equity” – labor at various construction sites – before an applicant can progress through their program. After her normal workday, Charlene has been swinging hammers in addition to interviewing for higher-paying management positions. She credits Maryann for keeping her focused and helping her break down her goals into manageable steps.  For Charlene, participation in the RESET program is vital in her steps toward self-sufficiency.

“I hang on to the message of being valued,” Charlene says.  “Maryann and ICS say to me, ‘You know you can do this, let’s get you there and see what else you can do.’”