ESR programs offers practical help to encourage participants’ success

Diana Westrick, Allan Younger, and Joe Watson

ESR programs offers practical help to encourage participants’ success
April 25
03:10 2019

For more than 50 years, Experiment In Self-Reliance (ESR) has served the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community working to eliminate poverty and homelessness, and to build personal assets with area residents. Over the years, ESR has reconstructed the architecture of its programs and re-envisioned its service delivery to stay abreast of changing times, changing needs, and the changing face of poverty. ESR provides essential services to families and the community and exhibits proven leadership in the delivery of services related to poverty in our community.

ESR serves hundreds of individuals and families that are striving to make a difference in their lives and sets out a plan of action to create a positive impact for themselves and future generations. Much of their work is done in concert with the client and ESR staff Success Coach (Case Managers). They serve people caught in the cycle of generational poverty and/or chronic homelessness by using methodology of intensive case management to ensure effective outcomes while using funding dollars most efficiently. ESR provides hope in the face of hopelessness; a powerful combination of encouragement and accountability through what is called “success coaching;” and real, practical help for those in need—both in the short-term and the long-term.

In ESR’s core Self-Reliance Program and Housing Program, ESR serves approximately 800 households annually. In the Homeownership Program (IDA), we serve another 100-150 participants annually in Financial Literacy Training.  Over a decade, ESR has helped place nearly 600 families into their own first-time homes. Since 2004, we have served between 2,500-4,500 families and individuals each year during tax season through the VITA-EITC Tax Program.

Currently, ESR is working with the Place Based efforts in the LaDeara Crest community, funded by our local United Way. Area residents participated in classes such as budget and money management, job readiness, renter rights, and creative design to release your stress.  Recently, 19 participants attended a session on starting their own small business. The facilitated discussion led by Manya Stewart, ESR’s Employment Relations Manager and Outreach Specialist, showcased local professionals Diana Westrick with Forsyth County Department of Community and Economic Development, Allan Younger of Forsyth Tech Small Business Center director located in Innovation Quarter, and Joe (Peanut Man) Watson, owner of WTimes and Peanut Business.

Joe Watson encouraged participants to “build on their dreams and talents within themselves. If a person follows their dreams, the money will come. Never start a business just for the money. Think about your business in the context of you filling a need. The business will grow from there.”

This theory of life is echoed in a famous quote from former President Barack Obama: “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

Over the years, thousands of people have entered ESR’s doors to be welcomed, encouraged, assisted, and brought to a new, brighter day in their lives. This is still true of the programs and people you will find at ESR today. Daily the agency’s skilled management, caring Success Coaches and dedicated board members help individuals, families and the entire community to battle poverty and homelessness, and ultimately, work to bring hope for a better tomorrow.  ESR invites you to come out, volunteer, and partner with us, so that together we may continue to help others help themselves. 

For more information, contact:  Twana Roebuck, ESR executive director, at 336-722-9400 or visit

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors