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Please note that this program is currently inactive
Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, Texas has gone beyond helping people in trouble with their immediate needs. It has committed itself to changing their lives. It has created a program that provides economically and/or educationally disadvantaged adults (the working poor and non-working poor) with the basic academic and interpersonal skills that are necessary for moving toward economic self-sufficiency.
Jacob's Ladder provides a non-sectarian, tuition-free adult learning center that exemplifies quality, excellence and mutual respect-and offers participants opportunities for personal and social growth as well as programs for improving academic competence.
As of February 1997, there were 190,142 individuals and their families receiving some form of government assistance in Dallas County. As a result of the recent Welfare Reform legislation passed by Congress and implemented by the state of Texas, every one of these is at risk of losing benefits. Currently, the "hardest-to-serve" and the "working poor" in Dallas have few opportunities to remedies or improve their skills. Most have not been successful in public educational settings and they lack the necessary requirements for job success - basic literacy, a job-specific skill, and the ability to get along well with other people.
These people must be able to acquire good interpersonal skills, personal and family management skills, a high school diploma or its equivalent, and become functionally literate before they begin learning a job-specific skill. Because these populations have nowhere to turn, homelessness and poverty move closer and closer to becoming a reality for them.
To meet the needs of this at-risk population Temple Emanu-El created Jacob's Ladder as a free-standing institution with its own board, its own budget and a cadre of eager volunteers. Jacob's ladder provides several crucial services:
- Adult education in English as a second language, GED preparation, reading remediation, and math remediation;
- Personal and Social Growth Training, conducted by an on-site licensed social worker;
- Childcare services provided on site when parents are participating in center activities;
- Referrals to community agencies that provide assistance with rent, clothing, food, medical, job skills training, and job placement; and
Jacob's ladder is truly helping members of its community climb up out of homelessness to a new life of productivity and self-reliance.
Is your congregation looking for more ways to reach out to the community? Check out the Religious Action Center Program Bank.