Community adopts ESR families, teaches to decorate on a budget

Community adopts ESR families, teaches to decorate on a budget
January 10
10:23 2019

This past Christmas, local community partners worked with Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR) to adopt ESR clients and provide a class to help clients decorate for the holidays on a budget.

Thirty-five ESR clients were adopted by St. Leo’s Catholic Church and Psi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. to make sure they received groceries, food for a Christmas meal, necessities, and presents for their children to open at Christmas.

St. Leo’s and Psi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. wanted to give families in need the opportunity to enjoy Christmas and alleviate some stress that holidays often bring, especially those with a limited budget.

Clients and families were thankful for the unexpected help they received, some expressing their gratitude and surprise through tears and hugs. “We can’t say enough how thankful we are for the support we receive for our clients throughout the year,” says Twana W. Roebuck, Executive Director of ESR, “especially during the holidays which can be such a difficult time for many families.”

In collaboration with Liberty East Restoration, ESR held their Road to Empowerment Series in the Naomi Jones Resource Center at in the LaDeara Crest neighborhood this fall. The Series consisted of three classes and is a part of the United Way of Forsyth County Place Matters Initiative. Residents worked with ESR staff to determine the classes they wanted to have at the center. The classes were taught over a three-month period by experts in the community and consisted of Budgeting, Cooking on a Budget, and Decorating on a Budget – all with the goal of empowering residents to take control of their finances, save money, and manage their budget.

The final class – Decorating on a Budget – was held on Monday, December 17 and taught by Roslyn Evans, Edelina Oliphant, and Tonya Bellanger. Residents learned frugal and creative ways to decorate for Christmas and came away with handmade gifts and decorations for their homes.

Tonya Bellanger, ESR Board Member and Finance Chair, volunteered at the final class with her mom, Edelina Oliphant. “I believe in the mission of ESR to empower people in our community to become self-reliant,” says Bellanger. “When we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in this world, we should use it. ESR gives me that opportunity every time I attend an event and get the chance to interact with people in the community.”

“It is truly a special place filled with people who are doing good.”

Yolanda, a LaDeara Crest resident, has participated in all three classes and every Road to Empowerment Series offered by ESR. “It is something you can take with you throughout life. Stop and think classes,” says Yolanda. “I love being hands on in the community period, so when ESR comes and brings these classes, it is something extra to do. It is also informative. You get to meet other people in the community. It is something fun. We need something fun.”

Yolanda, who serves as the Community Liason for the LaDeara Crest neighborhood, sees participating in the classes as an opportunity to de-stress and learn valuable information. “This is brain food. [This is] something you can take with you throughout life.”

“Never give up…Everybody has their own path they are going to go, but along the way, there are people out here in the community that care like ESR and different organizations and such that can make the experience a little bit easier.”

ESR would like to give a special thanks to St. Leo’s Catholic Church and Psi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. for their generous donation and for providing hope to families this holiday season, and to Liberty East Restoration and the Road to Empowerment instructors for empowering our community this fall.

ESR is a non-profit Community Action Agency that focuses on empowering people with low-moderate income to become self-reliant. Programs help provide housing, teach clients to save, budget, and improve credit scores, provide assistance for education, and help clients build assets like homeownership, as well as free tax preparation. All clients must be working. For more information on ESR’s services, visit their website at or call (336) 722-9400.

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