CC and DSHS team against poverty

Getting Ahead

Centralia College Workfirst has teamed up with the Lewis County Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to offer Getting Ahead, a workshop designed to help people in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program escape the underlying causes of poverty.  After running a pilot program through a grant from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), continued funding for additional workshops is likely through the next fiscal year, ending June of 2017.

“Looking into the underlying causes is exactly what needs to happen if people are ever going to permanently change their situations and break the cycle of poverty,” explained DSHS representative Philip Peet. “How did I get here and how am I going to change mine and my family’s lives? These are some of questions that participants have the chance to investigate and find solutions for.”

People struggling to make ends meet often live in unstable and stressful situations. They spend their time putting out fires instead of trying to figure out how the fire got started in the first place.  In addition, people in poverty have the added burden of the perception that poverty equates to laziness, though statistics show that’s just not the case.

Participants meet once a week for 16 weeks to gain personal knowledge of the causes of poverty and create opportunities to model their present and future states.  The program also offers some training in basic budgeting and how to allocate income for rent, expenses, debt, and discretionary spending.

For more information contact Philip Peet at or Margret Friedley at


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