Our Initiatives

When serving in vulnerable communities, there are no simple solutions because the issues these communities face are so complex and interrelated. Just as physical, social, emotional, and spiritual components need to be considered when seeking to help an individual flourish, there are also specific components that need to be considered when serving in a low income community. CornerStone has identified three specific areas where we feel called to equip and empower our community to flourish: Education, Employment, and Enrichment.

Our Initiatives

Education:

High School Diploma, GED Certification, Technical School, College, Specialized Certifications … are all key components to attaining stronger and more sustainable and rewarding employment. However, in the CornerStone focus area, 27% of the residents have less than a high school diploma and only 33% have obtained a diploma or GED. It is part of our mission to provide a variety of educational opportunities and support for our neighbors.

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With this awareness, what are we doing to address these problems?

Within our community, CornerStone seeks to collaborate as much as possible when it comes to supportive educational programs. For example, Huntsville Inner City Learning Center sits right in the middle our our focus areas and offers an amazing program that includes daily tutoring for children ages 5-13. We encourage all of our families to take advantage of this rich asset in our community.

CornerStone also seeks to partners with higher education programs such as those offered at Calhoun and Drake to bring GED classes, certification programs and degree options to our residents.

Regardless of educational attainment, there are other areas where “classes” are making a direct impact on our community. For example, our Jobs for Life Initiative offers a 32 hour class focusing on preparing people for sustainable work in meaningful places of employment. Mentors are a key component of the success of this class.

Another initiative is our Faith and Finances class that is set to begin Spring 2018. Faith and Finances is a financial literacy class that enables low to moderate income individuals set financial goals, know their credit scores, understand what their assets are, track their spending and begin saving. This “relationship based” learning style will prove to be an anchor of our educational initiatives.

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Faith and Finances course begins with laying the foundation for good financial literacy by discussing money in the context of relationships, attitudes, values, and obstacles. Next, the curriculum encourages participants to plan ahead – to set goals and make a spending plan.  After establishing a spending plan, Faith and Finances discusses giving, thrift, debt, and risk. Finally, the curriculum encourages learners to protect heir assets and consider their net worth.
The community in which CornerStone will offer these classes lies within the 4th lowest income census tract in the state of Alabama. Over 53% of the families living there are living below the poverty level and there is a staggering 25.8% unemployment rate.
Each class can take in up to 20 students, with each student having the opportunity to be mentored by 1-3 “allies.”  These “aly” or coaching slots will be filled by volunteers and the hours spent in coaching roles will definitely qualify for CRA credit as the “aly” will attend each of the 12 90-minute classes with their student.  This supportive/relational role is paramount to the success of the student and the class as a whole.

Employment:

Made in the image of God, we are created to work. At CornerStone, we believe in collaborating with the faith community, city government and local businesses to make our community stronger by helping people prepare for and find meaningful work. In a community where over 53% of the residents live below the poverty level, a strong focus on employment is a must.

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Through our Jobs for Life 8 week class, CornerStone partners with local churches to provide a place where the unemployed or under-employed find a community where they are challenged to become the best worker that God has create them to be. Career assessments, resume writing , interviewing skills,soft skills, etc, are all part of this Biblically based curriculum.

After successful completion of the Jobs for Life class, it is our goal to continue in that process and create opportunities for graduates to secure employment that brings them fulfillment while financially sustaining their families.   For this very purpose, the Jobs For Life Business Network was formed.
This initiative is a network of individuals who use their sphere of influence to connect employers to potential employees.  Sometimes a candidate just needs someone to CONSIDER their resume, regardless of limited experience or education, knowing that they are serious about work. The JFL Business network is committed to finding employers who will do just that.

Enrichment:

CornerStone seeks to facilitate relationships that encourage people to seek God’s best for their own lives and for their community. Identifying and empowering indigenous leadership is central to sustainable change within a community.

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Neighborhood Conversations  (or Community Meetings) held on a quarterly basis.  One of the goals of these gatherings is to raise up community leaders who take ownership of the development and growth of their own street.  These meetings are neighbor planned and neighbor hosted and led.
Neighbors get to know each other while working together to improve their community. There are currently efforts underway to establish better communication between neighbors through which information can be more easily shared.

Are you ready to volunteer?

Connect with us for more information on volunteer opportunities.