Community Classroom offering poverty training for area agencies

PLAINVIEW – Social service agencies face a multitude of challenges when serving their communities, not the least of which is communicating with and understanding the populations they serve. Having a clearer understanding of poverty and its facets can help agencies do their work better, Debbie Stennett believes.

That’s why Stennett, director of the Community Classroom at Wayland Baptist University, has planned a two-day workshop June 21-22 to train agency personnel in understanding individual and family behaviors in poverty. The workshop is slated from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days at the Community Classroom, 708 Yonkers.

“The poverty framework for agencies is about developing a shared and informed perspective among social service professionals who daily serve the poor. Participants will learn about behavioral patterns common to families in generational poverty that often puzzle the middle class,” Stennett said. “They can expect to learn, too, about building resources within their clients to help them help themselves. It’s about social change that starts deep within individuals and about connectedness and relationships with the poor whose increasing numbers threaten community sustainability in rural areas.”

Based on the work of Dr. Ruby Payne and Phillip DeVol, the workshop provides information on helping clients in poverty develop stabilizing resources. Participants will learn about the causes of poverty and community sustainability, the hidden rules of families in poverty, the role of language, family structure and resource development.

Instruction will be provided through small-group activities, PowerPoint presentations, Web site reviews, class discussions and video clips. The workshop is $20 per person, and registration is open through June 9. Call 291-3650 for more information.

A three-day workshop for teachers is slated for June 27-29 and costs $50 per person. Registration is also open for that workshop, geared more for educators and school personnel.