Learning from similar experiences, shared solutions

Beth Briggs


There are few things as lonely as trying to solve a complex problem on your own.  And when you know your decisions affect at-risk women and families in your community, weighing the risks and benefits can be daunting.

But what if you could share your concerns with others who face similar challenges in providing quality, sustainable services? What if someone else’s creative solution fit your situation – or your technique for building board engagement helped someone else take their program to a higher level?

On Sept. 20, the N.C. Council for Women (CFW) will create that opportunity by presenting our first ever Displaced Homemakers (DH) conference for grantees who manage 35 community-based DH programs that coordinate job-skills training for individuals re-entering the workforce.  Titled Building Self Sufficiency … Improving Lives Across North Carolina, the event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Senior
Services Center, 2895 Shorefair Drive in Winston-Salem.

Joined by members of the CFW board, grantees will gather to talk about the challenges they face, learn from each other and work together to provide meaningful resources to clients. They also will learn about the Council’s expectations in regard to required documentation and evaluation, and how they can become effective advocates to build sustainability into their programs.

Key speakers will include Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro, a tireless advocate for women and families who introduced pioneering legislation that established North Carolina’s DH program in 1993. Lori V. Fullers, Director of Evaluation and Research at the Kate B. Reynolds Health Care Trust, will discuss the importance of thorough and well-documented evaluation.

Additionally, attendees will learn about preliminary findings of the 2012 Status of Women in North Carolina report, which identifies both progress and continued challenges for women in relation to unemployment; education, earnings, and the gender wage gap; and economic security and poverty. The full report is slated for October release.

CFW board members and staff likewise view the conference as a learning opportunity. By looking beyond stacks of forms and collaborating directly with our grantees, the shared benefits will be greatest for those we all work so hard to serve.

Beth Briggs is Executive Director of the N.C. Council for Women in the N.C. Department of Administration. The deadline to register for the Displaced Homemaker Conference is Sept. 14. For information or to register, visit www.councilforwomen.nc.gov/register.

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