Tough Work, Understanding and Serving People in Poverty While Caring for Yourself

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Ohio State University. Office of Outreach and Engagement

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The need to address an increase in poverty brought together OSU Extension, the faith-based community, and non-profit agencies. Volunteer training was identified as a gap so curriculum was created to help address increased demands on local non-profit organizations struggling to meet basic needs of people living in poverty in their communities. Training covers causes and complexities of poverty, cultural awareness, effectively working with families in crisis, preventing compassion fatigue, and making quality referrals to agencies.


IMPACT. 1: Since 2011, the four hour Tough Work training has been delivered twelve times to 245 individuals representing nearly 50 separate community based organizations in Southwest Ohio. -- 2. The pre/post evaluations from the peer reviewed curriculum reflect strong evidence of knowledge gained - 98% indicated they learned information that will be useful in their work with people in poverty. -- 3. Faith-based leaders have expressed appreciation for the opportunity to invite local churches to a workshop not sponsored by a particular denomination in order to openly address a shared community challenge.
OSU PARTNERS: College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Warren County Community Services, Inc.; Kings Local Food Pantry; Family and Children First; Council of Warren County; Community Volunteers
PRIMARY CONTACT: Kathy Michelich (



Engaged Scholars, v. 3 (2015).