For almost one-third (32.1%) of Watauga County residents poverty is a daily reality. NETworX Watauga equips people who are struggling financially with access to the opportunities, education, and relationships they need to become self-sufficient.
Building relationships across social class lines is a complex process with many rewards and pitfalls. Best practices gleaned from other national initiatives, asset-based community development, strength-based assessment, a historical movement resulting in significant change, and other research-based material informed the development of the NETworX model. NETworX is based on the Methodist movement which French Theologian Halevy believed provided a “ladder of opportunity” for those experiencing poverty. Weekly classes, accountability, and relationship building were the core of the Methodist movement and are at the core of the NETworX initiative.
At the model's core are weekly meetings that include shared meals, time for relationship-building and mutual accountability, goal setting, and celebration. Childcare and transportation, frequent barriers to regular participation, are provided as needed without cost. Education around the topics of self- awareness, racial equity, addiction in all of its forms, aspects of privilege, holistic poverty, social capital, the role of personal and community trauma, and community transformation form the topical base of the training classes.
Reciprocal relationships, built over a period, of time, are central and are built through the shared cohort experience and shared vulnerability. Participants support one another as they develop their individual strengths, capacities, and potential. Finally, because the level of transformation desired takes place over time, participants are asked to dedicate 18-36 months to training and relationship building.
For more information please call 828-264-1237 or email NETworX Watauga Coordinator Brandon Poole
Ultimately participants will:
Reach self-sufficiency or be markedly closer to that goal
Learn to set specific, measurable short-term goals which will guide them towards their long-term goals
Build relationships and social capital across social and economic lines to develop strong personal and professional networks
Learn how to find, obtain, and maintain employment or return to school to improve their chances of living-wage employment in the future.
Actively participate in identifying and changing barriers in the local community that keep people in the cycle of poverty