Poverty Ministry shifts toward Holistic Approach

NewpicofDottieDottie Achmoody
Chief Executive Officer

Story by Connie Collins courtesy of the Akronist

This is how Dottie Achmoody describes the current state of OPEN M. For most of its 46-year history, the ministry has provided free food and medical care to the needy, along with many other critical programs.

CEO Achmoody described how post-recession funding has caused the organization to take a critical look at its services, which recently expanded to include a more holistic approach to the problems of poverty. The goal is to establish relationships with people in situational or generational poverty, helping them move beyond the need for emergency help by building the social networks and self-confidence needed to achieve independence.

Achmoody explained that donors want to see more permanent solutions for the community. OPEN M is hoping to meet these expectations by working to prioritize education and preventative measures. This includes mentoring adults into secure employment.

These efforts align with Achmoody’s  own resolve to focus the organization’s efforts on ending the cycle of poverty. As part of this, OPEN M is implementing a new project, the Community Works Connection (CWC). This initiative will be modeled after the highly successful program Cincinnati Works, which offers access to area employers while providing comprehensive support services to those trying to break their cycle of poverty.

bobtitusBob Titus, project manager for the
Community Works Connection,
will help Open M to reach
Akron’s impoverished residents
in through a more holistic approach.

A key component to the success of this venture will be it’s leadership. Achmoody chose Bob Titus for the job because of his experience in staffing and volunteer work with the homeless in Akron. But there was an even more crucial component for OPEN M’s leader when she selected Titus for the role.

“I loved his heart and enthusiasm,” Achmoody said.

Titus will serve as Project Manager for CWC. In this role, he will be focused on increasing long-term support for individuals seeking to emerge from poverty. The CWC program will provide a needed next step for OPEN M’s already established programs, such as Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead. These existing programs aim to link resources and build support among those suffering from poverty. Participants are invited to reflect on their lives and plan for their and their families’ futures.

For more information about CWC, or to contact the program’s leadership, please visit the group’s Web site

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