Besides formal training, CCN offers agency mentoring, technical assistance, and subawards for capacity-building projects. CCN's comprehensive training program is the only one of its kind in Northeast Ohio.
Before CCN's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Training program, the Freedom House for Women in Akron, Ohio, was a fledgling organization. It had a great vision of helping women and families with addiction issues but lacked the experience on the business side to grow, prosper, and receive proper support. In fact, before undergoing the training program, Freedom House had no funding or location.
Looking to take her young nonprofit to the next level, Freedom House Executive Director Eva Moore participated in numerous CCN workshops, including Fiscal Management, Grant Writing, and Board Development, as well as the technical assistance program. Moore also participated in a customized assessment of Freedom House, through which she learned about potential areas of growth and ways she could achieve that growth within her organization.
As a result of the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Training, Freedom House has learned to take advantage of local partnerships. The organization is working with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority to provide services to AMHA clients served with eviction notices due to chemical dependency issues, as well as the Akron Adult Probation Department to help women referred for treatment. Freedom House clients can receive their GED through the University of Akron's accredited program.
“The Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Training was extremely positive. It really made the difference in the growth of this organization,” said Moore. “It helped us to leverage partnerships, secure grants, utilize new technology, balance budgets, and develop our board.”
In starting Freedom House four years ago, Moore knew she wanted to help women with addiction issues become more self-sufficient, transitioning smoothly from addiction to recovery. She just didn't fully realize how to take that vision and turn it into reality. Thanks to CCN's training, in just one year Moore saw her dreams for Freedom House come to fruition. Not only did the organization secure a location and funding, but it is fulfilling its mission of serving local women and families, helping them to lead more normal, productive lives (see sidebar).
CCN's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Training program is not standard leadership training. The instructors are not consultants or professional trainers but experienced professionals in the field. The program extends beyond the classroom with ongoing support and technical assistance. Organizational networks of current and former trainees are in the Cleveland and Akron metropolitan areas.
“We are proud of the work that our trainees are doing to improve our communities and enhance the overall quality of life for society's most underserved populations,” said Pelletier. “We hope to continue to support and grow organizations like Freedom House with our training well into the future.”
David Lundeen is CEO of Community Care Network in Cleveland, Ohio.
For more information on CCN, visit http://www.ccnworks.org.
Freedom House's Services
Freedom House takes a multi-prong approach to healing women, drawing on the support and partnerships of outside organizations. Freedom House is 12-Step oriented, and all clients must attend Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Freedom House's James Harvey, MSW, LSW, LICDC, explains that these programs “are essential in the recovery process, helping our clients work on their basic coping skills and establish a reliable sober support network.”
Freedom House provides group counseling on-site. Women whose needs are not being met in a group setting have access to the Minority Behavior Health Group in Akron to resolve mental health issues. Freedom House also strives to empower its clients with courses in legal education, including family law, bankruptcy, domestic violence, and criminal law and divorce; anger and stress management; financial fitness; medical education; and drug and alcohol education.
Freedom House has nine women and their families enrolled in its programs. By the end of the year, the organization would like to offer a full range of services to a dozen or more women and their families. In the next few years, Moore hopes to serve even more women, as well as open a second facility to provide residential services to the homeless.