For the past several months I have been serving on the Empire State Poverty Reduction Task Force with the great leader of Opportunities for Otsego, CEO, Dan Maskin, who is leading the charge with his amazing team. It has been an honor to serve on this task force with the diverse talent of many wonderful dedicated leaders in the Oneonta Community to help neighbors in poverty by embracing the work of Dr. Donna Beegle on The Opportunity Community Model. I was also recently trained to become a navigator to help neighbors. It was truly a wonderful experience to be in a room of other likeminded caring individuals that all have a common purpose to better the lives of our neighbors in our community. That is my Why (my passion) for getting involved and staying involved. Attached is the invitation and information sheet on the Oneonta Opportunity Conference which will be held on. I ask the business community for you help in spreading the word to people you may know that could benefit from attending this conference. By all of us working together to bring prosperity to Oneonta and Otsego County we are all working in the same direction to improve our quality of life and grow our economy. Please find some information below on what the Opportunity Model is referenced by Dr. Donna Beegle Communication Across Barriers.
The Opportunity Community Model
The Opportunity Community (OC) model is a national movement designed to create the types of communities we all want to live in. This can be achieved by increasing prosperity for the people living in the crisis of poverty. Dr. Donna M. Beegle combined her experience of living for 28 years in extreme migrant labor poverty, with 20 years of studying and working with communities to create a research-based model for assisting people to move out — and to stay out — of poverty. At the core, the (OC) model addresses seven key issues that prevent us from reducing poverty:
1. No clear definition of poverty.
2. Varying views of the causes of poverty.
3. Education about poverty and its impacts on people provided by the media which promote stereotypes.
4. Resolutions, actions, programs, funding allocations and policies are created without the voices of people from generational, working class, immigrant, and situational poverty.
5. Efforts to eradicate poverty are isolated and focused on (at best) assisting people to cope with current poverty conditions.
6. The “Deficit” model is the primary framework for addressing poverty.
7. Economic development is misaligned with the human capital available.
The OC model employs a comprehensive approach that builds on the existing strengths of people in poverty, business, social service, education, healthcare, justice, faith-based organizations and community members to make a difference for their region. This model has similar components as the Collective Impact process, Tamarack’s Vibrant Communities Model, and the Circles Campaign for engaging diverse support from the community. However, the OC model goes beyond building collaborations and partnerships. At its core, the OC model:
1. Serves people from generational, working class, situational, and immigrant poverty.
2. Provides structure for a better-connected community network resulting in a more effective and efficient poverty-fighting system.
3. Provides community-wide education to increase awareness and understanding about the real causes of poverty — Educating people living in poverty (Neighbors) and volunteers (Navigators and Specialty Navigators) — then connecting Navigators and Neighbors in strong relationships.
4. Trains community professionals to serve as Specialty Navigators and support the efforts of Navigators who are working to access resources and opportunities for their neighbors.
5. Increases engagement of sectors of the community not previously involved in fighting poverty.
6. Builds capacity of helping professionals who serve people in poverty.
Barbara Ann Heegan
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189 Main St. Suite 500
Oneonta, NY 13820