Scottsdale and other Valley residents who have worked toward self reliance and independence from public assistance will be honored during a special celebration at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Granite Reef Senior Center, Scottsdale.
They are participants of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program, a voluntary program to promote educational and employment opportunities for families living in government subsidized housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds the program, which began in 1997.
Irma* is one of six Scottsdale program participants who will be graduating on the 10th. When Irma first joined the program in 2007 her English was extremely limited, and she brought her daughter to class to translate. Today, Irma is able to tutor other students in English. She took English-as-a-Second-Language classes, earned her GED diploma and commercial driver’s license, took computer classes and is currently working toward a degree in computer technology. Her grades are at the top of her class. In addition, Irma has maintained her job with the Tempe School District throughout her studies.
“Irma has been a great inspiration to everyone around her,” says Self-Sufficiency Specialist Stacey Benson. “We know that nothing will get in the way of her capturing her hopes and dreams, and she will succeed in all that she wants. We offer her – and the rest of the graduates — our sincere congratulations.”
There are 30 participants enrolled in Scottsdale’s program, and 69 participants have graduated since its inception. The average family income of participants upon enrolling in the program is $15,362 compare with earnings of more than $26,829 upon graduating.
*Irma did not want to reveal her last name.