ODAAT prepares to host its inaugural ‘Breaking the Poverty Mindset’ Conference
The conference will take place Wednesday, June 7 at the Temple University Student Center from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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There are various challenges facing the Philadelphia community, from high crime to the opioid crisis.
However, while those challenges persist, various organizations exist with the very mission of addressing them and providing tangible long-term solutions.
One Day At A Time (ODAAT) is one of those organizations.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the organization is renowned for offering drug and alcohol services to individuals seeking shelter and support in their recovery efforts.
However, its services expand far beyond that, from case management to classes and workshops, outreach efforts, and special events.
Cordell Williams, Omar Muse, and Lenea Burnett are three individuals who can speak personally about the impact ODAAT can have on the lives of those seeking ways to transform their lives.
Each of them previously served time in incarceration, and thanks to the resources available from ODAAT and other partnering organizations, have been able to help others.
“My job is to help guys do better, help them be better and let them know that we are on their side. We're not trying to harm them, we're here to get them better,” said Burnett.
In partnership with the NOMO Foundation and the Urban Affairs Coalition, ODAAT will be hosting its first-ever ‘Breaking the Poverty Mindset’ Conference next week.
“We wanted to do this event before the violence starts to uptick in the summer to actually bring out resources that would prevent the violence from upticking over the summer,” ODAAT President Mel Wells said during a press conference in the Mayor’s Reception Room earlier today.
The goal of the conference is to build a bridge and connect individuals and families to resources that will help them change their mindset, and subsequently improve their lives.
“Breaking the poverty mindset is essential to reaching those in our communities who have given up on themselves and have opted for a life of crime,” said Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal.
As someone who grew up in and around the poverty mindset, she has come to the conclusion that it is among the biggest barriers to success.
“To be effective in our fight against poverty mindset… all of us have to help build self-esteem and confidence, and set tangible and reachable goals,” Bilal added.
When Councilman Jim Harrity thinks about the city’s high crime, he traces it to one factor.
“Crime is nothing but a symptom of the underlying condition, which is poverty,” he said.
Recent studies show that a single parent with one child would need to earn at least $37 an hour to afford to live in Philadelphia. In addition, a worker earning minimum wage would need to work at least 3.2 jobs to afford to live in the city.
“That’s unacceptable,” Harrity added. “The fact that we’re largest poorest city in the country is , and the only way we’re going to fix some of these programs that we have is by first working on the underlying issues, which is… [figuring] out ways to pay our people more.”
The “Breaking The Poverty Mindset’ Conference will feature special guests Wallo and Gillie Da King, hosts of the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast.
The conference will also feature a panel of community leaders, such as Rickey Duncan, CEO of NOMO Foundation; Atif Bostic, CEO of Uplift Solutions; Daryl Shuler, co-founder of Put It Down, and various other notable panelists.
“I’m super excited to be a part of this panel,” said Duncan.
As CEO and executive director of NOMO, Duncan leads the organization’s efforts to provide a safe space for youth and youth adults to develop positive life skills and nurture their potential to break the cycle of poverty.
While a born-and-raised Philadelphia native, Duncan often travels to other cities on business trips to gauge how things operate across the country.
Amid his trips, he realized that many of the challenges facing Philadelphia are national.
Engaging individuals of all ages, especially youth, takes order.
“We need to create more structure and organize opportunities for our young people so they can develop into the person we want them to be,” said Duncan.
“They are children that need to be guided and it’s our responsibility as local officials, government officials, government and local grassroots organization to… come together in a collaborative effort to create a better opportunity and a better future for our young people,” he added.
The upcoming conference will aim to do just that, and is part of its everyday mission — providing free resources to those who need it.
The conference will feature family counseling, mentoring, yoga, mindfulness, HIV testing, city resources, and much more.
“Help is here. Sometimes the poverty mindset is just not knowing better,” Wells underscored.
“We have a lot of people out here who don’t know about the free resources that are out here and stop the shame,” he concluded. “Just because someone is free, if it’s going to help you break out of the poverty mindset, take the free services and donate them to somebody else to bring them out of poverty,” he concluded.
The ‘Breaking The Poverty Mindset: Restoring Peace Wellness Conference’ is set for Wednesday, June 7 at the Temple University Student Center from 12:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more information or register for the free event, click here.