CAUTION: This article starts with a platitude, and then it hits you with reality. You’ll be glad you read it, because you will find a way to make a difference.

Platitude (cliché truism): If you give someone a fish, you will feed them for the day. If you teach someone to fish, you will feed them for a lifetime.

Reality (what’s really going on): Many of our neighbors cannot even get to the “pond.”

Job skills classes do not include child care for struggling families. Employment services are 30 and 50 miles away for people without cars, or driver’s licenses. These are some of the everyday barriers that prevent people who are trying to improve their lives from even casting their line. It’s not the help we provide but the way we provide it.

Solution: The Liston Center in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, is changing that. The neighborhood-based resource center brings employment and financial capability services into one easily accessible place, complete with child care and other essential supports.

NOW YOU CAN HELP
Make a donation and get 70 percent back in tax credits!

Missouri Neighborhood Assistance Project (NAP) tax credits are now available for donations in support of the Liston Center’s work pulling transformative programs and partnerships together.

At 70 percent, NAP tax credits for the Liston Center allow anyone donating $1,000, for example, to reduce their Missouri tax liability by $700. The full $1,000 goes to the Liston Center immediately. The person or business donating has up to five years to use the NAP tax credits.

Donations will support apprenticeships, youth development, and child care at the Liston Center.

Contact the Liston Center’s Kelly Ast at West Central Missouri Community Action Agency to get started: kast@wcmcaa.org or 660-476-2185 Ext. 3162. West Central manages the Liston Center initiative. Download the Liston NAP credits flyer here: NAP-Credits-ListonCenter

Apprenticeships — Youth Development — Child Care

The Liston Center supports individuals and families working to overcome obstacles by bringing essential and supportive resources into one place. They include:

Apprenticeships. With funding from NAP tax credit sales, the Liston Center’s managing organization, West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, and partners will develop a set of state-certified on-the-job apprenticeships at the Liston Center. Research begins this fall into specific workforce development needs of employers in Cedar, St. Clair, and Vernon counties. On-the-job training placements with area employers are expected to begin in early 2021.

Child Care. Whether attending a class or participating in a family financials meeting, child care is available for anyone attending programs and working through the Liston Center to improve their lives.

RISE (Reaching Independence through Support and Education). This program provides a whole-family counseling approach to working out of poverty, including building financial capability. RISE has proven transformative and effective in nearby Springfield, Missouri, where the Drew Lewis Foundation developed the approach. The Liston Center is among the first rural community-based efforts chosen to replicate it.

HiSET (high school equivalency test). The Liston Center and Literacy KC have teamed up to improve and expand access to HiSET services in the El Dorado Springs area with support from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Programs and partners. Among the community programs and partners that the Liston Center brings into one place for greater access and success are the local Parents as Teachers program and the regional On My Own independent living organization. Parents as Teachers works side by side with parents, from pre-natal through kindergarten, to build child and family success. On My Own supports its clients and others at the Liston Center with healthy cooking and other life management classes and events.

The number of people that the Liston Center serves is growing. More than 800 individuals and children are expected to participate in programs at the Liston Center September through December if normal pre-pandemic operations resume.

Contact the Liston Center’s Kelly Ast at West Central Missouri Community Action Agency to get started: kast@wcmcaa.orgor 660-476-2185 Ext. 3162. Download the Liston NAP credits flyer here: NAP-Credits-ListonCenter

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