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Little Miracles Grant Program

by Traci Harris, Case Manager


He who is self-sufficient is far from poverty. -Confucius

 

At The ELM Foundation we believe in creating self-sufficiency, accountability, and a desire to serve. Often, individuals doing the best they can need help overcoming barriers to self-sufficiency.  ELM’s Little Miracles Grant program makes intentional investments in highly motivated individuals striving to become self-reliant through work readiness skills and higher education. The Little Miracle Grant program may also assist with childcare, transportation, or healthcare barriers that present themselves on the participant’s path to becoming self-reliant.


The ELM Foundation relies on and accepts referrals from social service staff, school counselors, community leaders, and clergy. When a referral is received, the ELM case manager reaches out to the individual and begins to establish a relationship. Completing the application in a thoughtful manner requires effort. Referred individuals are asked to apply for FAFSA, fill out a needs-based application, submit a personal essay, and complete a financial worksheet. Upon completion and timely submission, the ELM Grants Committee reviews each applicant to help alleviate some financial burden. Grant recommendations are then brought to the ELM Board for final approval.


As Little Miracle grants are awarded, it is my honor as the ELM case manager to focus on relational, long-term development with all our participants. We set meaningful, attainable goals through a Development Plan. We engage in regular communication through monthly check-ins and other opportunities as needs arise. We hold one another accountable. As a mentor, friend and cheerleader I lend a listening ear on the rough days and encourage when challenges arise. I advise when decisions are to be made. We always celebrate the wins whether great or small. It is a joy to walk alongside each of our ELM participants on their journey toward self-sufficiency.   


ELM participants are working hard each day to progress and achieve their goals. Here are some of their recent reflections:


"As a first-generation college student in my family, the ELM education grant has played a pivotal role in making higher education a reality for me. Alleviating some of the financial burden allows me focus wholeheartedly on my studies, leading to improved concentration and better grades.”


"I am growing as a person through this experience. The ELM grant gives me the opportunity to create a good foundation for a good future.”


“The ability to ease the burden of paying for housing and the support of my case manager helps to keep me grounded. The requirement to work to maintain the grant pushes me to grow my interpersonal and professional skills and teaches me to budget my time. These skills are highly valuable and crucial to success.”


“As a single mother, I am very grateful for the opportunity to move forward in my career and provide for my children. Knowing I am not alone, and I have people I can count on means the world.”


The ultimate goal for ELM participants is to complete their program, graduate, become highly employable, can pay their bills and not rely on government assistance. They then are encouraged to pay it forward by serving others. That is what success looks like to ELM. We cannot agree more with the words once spoken by Aristotle, "Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient". 




Little Miracle Grant cycle for the 2024-2025 academic school year is now open. Applications accepted through May 1, 2024. For additional information please contact Traci at traci@elmhsv.org.

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