Skip to main content

How to Help

thriving connections needs your support

Lindsey was scared. She couldn’t sleep.

The Bloomington, Indiana 12-year old had gone to bed early to get plenty of rest, so that she could get a good grade on her spelling test in the morning. But she overheard her parents’ conversation and it kept her awake.

They were talking about how her dad’s hours had been cut at work. He would be making less money. And their car had broken down: fixing it would take a LOT of money. AND they couldn’t pay for their heat this month. Because they received Section 8 housing assistance, having the heat shut off meant that they would be evicted, and they had nowhere to go. There was no organization in town that would help them with money for the car parts they needed. Without the car, her dad couldn’t get to work, and he couldn’t get to court in Indianapolis, where he needed to talk to the judge about money he owed. If he couldn’t get to court, he could go to jail!

Lindsey, her parents, and her sister had been homeless once before, and had to live in their car. And now their car wouldn’t even run so that they could have heat. Would they die?

The next morning, Lindsey failed her spelling test.

But she ACED the next one! Because two days after Lindsey heard her parents talking, they came home from their weekly Thriving Connections meeting very excited. Their Allies helped them find a church that could pay for their heat this time. TC staff told her parents, Deborah and Jack, that they could sign up for energy assistance, which would help them with heating bills after this. An Ally drove their Dad to court and helped him work out a plan with the judge. And Thriving Connections had just started a fund from which her parents could borrow the money they needed to fix their car!

Lindsey had enjoyed time with her friends during the meeting, but she didn’t realize it was such a great night for her parents, too!

We need your financial support to help families like Lindsey’s transition out of poverty.

Thriving Connections, hosted by the South Central Community Action Program, is part of a nationwide campaign to build intentional relationships across race and class lines. This innovative strategy was created to help people like Deborah and Jack increase the resources needed to move out of poverty. Participants also learn how to advocate against systemic barriers in their community that often prevent hard-working people from getting ahead - like the lack of affordable housing and child care.

Jack and Deborah began participating in Thriving Connections. They were determined to move their family out of poverty, and their Section 8 caseworker said that Thriving Connections could help them do that. They were doubtful at first, but during their training that met once weekly for 18 weeks, they examined the ways in which they’d been individually responsible for their poverty, and the ways in which laws, economics and community barriers had been responsible, and kept them from moving ahead. They assessed the resources they had in their lives, and those they needed to build. They assessed the community’s resources. They learned about how change happens, and about becoming leaders in their own lives. They created goals and put together a plan that would help them transition out of poverty.

Other low-income participants in the training, called “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’-By World,” became their close friends, and everyone shared ideas and resources and helped each other. During “Getting Ahead” training sessions, they ate dinner made by friendly volunteers. Lindsey and her two sisters enjoyed the Youth Community, where they participated in fun activities that helped them learn character-building skills; the girls quickly became attached to the Volunteer Coordinator and to the Indiana University Psychology and Education graduate school interns who had created the activities and facilitated the program, and to other volunteers who assisted. When the training was finished, Deborah and Jack chose to become Circle Leaders.

As Circle Leaders, they began attending weekly Circles® Community meetings – with dinner and the Youth Community always provided. They got to know the trained Community Ally volunteers, all eager to befriend them.

Then their family was matched with four Allies, who would help them follow their plan to move out of poverty! Each Circle Leader was matched with two to four Allies in a relationship of “extended family.” Allies would provide emotional support, friendship, and problem-solving help, as well as connections to the middle-class community. In this crisis, Deborah’s and Jack’s Allies came through by finding them help with their heating bills.

Thriving Connections has been blessed by the many Monroe County volunteers, whose generosity in donating their time has offset many potential costs. Now, I am inviting you to provide a financial donation Thriving Connections. Our current Leaders are working hard to move ahead – 80% are now enrolled in Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University. Two received their associate degrees from Ivy Tech in May and have enrolled to earn a bachelors degree. Over the last several months, three more found jobs through their connections. Leaders are enthusiastically working on plans to break down a community barrier, and a new Getting Ahead class of determined and hard-working people has just begun!

Please help our Leaders continue moving ahead. Lindsey and her friends in the Youth Community will be able to sleep better at night – and pass those spelling tests!


Donations from generous individuals and corporate partners provide us with the resources to help low-income individuals and families improve their lives and make our community a better place to live. Please consider donating funds to help us continue this important work.  Click here to learn more about how you can help SCCAP.

If you would like to designate your donation to the Circles Initiative please make your check out to SCCAP and write “Thriving Connections” on the memo line and mail to:
1500 W. 15th Street
Bloomington, IN 47404