Sudbury residents with low-incomes learn new ways to better their circumstances

A northern Ontario health unit is celebrating a group of people who are on track to get themselves out of poverty.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit says new program helps people develop personal action plans

Sudbury and District Health Unit leader training program graduates, co-ordinators and supporters: (back row, L-F) Jeannine Larcher-Lalande, Jessica Brule, Councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann, Nichole Bérubé, Dawn Faries, Wendy Lavalley, Sean Wilkinson, Hughie Jeanveau, Ryan Lafreniere, Martina Faries, Sherry Price. (front row, L-F) Sarah Lemieux, Sherry-Lynn Mayer, Dana Wilson, Marie Langill. (SDHU)

A northern Ontario health unit is celebrating a group of people who are on track to get themselves out of poverty.

Several people have just graduated from the Sudbury health unit's six-week "Leader Training" program. It's designed for those who are currently living in poverty and want to become more financially independent.

The idea is for participants to lead their own journey out of poverty.

"So we're not saying 'X-Y-Z' is what you need to do and everybody should fit into this box," said Dana Wilson, manager of health equity with the health unit.

"Knowing that everybody is different and they've all come from very different backgrounds and have had very different life experiences ... the starting point for individuals is very different and also their outcome would be different."

Stability required

Participants assessed their current resources and developed personal action plans to achieve economic self-sufficiency in the future. The program also focused on skill building around goal setting, money tips, communication, relationships, community resources, and networking.

The training is meant for people who have a certain level of stability in their lives. Wilson says participants need to be able to attend the program regularly.

"We have a mix of individuals who are currently on Ontario Works. So that's more of the sector that we're looking at," she said.

"Unfortunately, for those who maybe are homeless, or are really in an unstable place, then that's probably tough for them to be able to commit to a program like this."

Wilson says the hope is these new graduates will move on to help others in the same situation.

More "Leader training" programs will be offered in the new year.

Similar programs are offered in London, Guelph, Sarnia and Barrie.