Agency launches initiative

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Strong Families in Dunnellon

United Way of Marion County’s Strong Families Initiative has been come to the Dunnellon area and is currently seeking participants and volunteer mentors. 

Strong Families provides individuals and families with comprehensive resources, wraparound support and the services they need to reach real and lasting financial stability. The initiative helps participants build stronger financial futures by acquiring skills and education, obtaining better jobs and developing good financial habits. Skill building sessions are held at the First United Methodist Church in Dunnellon.

Throughout the program, Strong Families Success Coaches meet with families individually to provide one-on-one coaching. After completing the skill building sessions, families have the opportunity to be matched with a volunteer mentor to provide further coaching and encouragement. 

The benefit of Strong Families is improving the financial stability of families that are struggling to be financially stable, according to Pebbles Vance, Strong Families Success Coach.

The program was first launched in 2016 by United Way of Marion County in Ocala. Since then, the program has expanded in size and scope. Strong Families graduates have achieved permanent stable housing, advanced their education, and increased their household income. 

The addition of Dunnellon as a second location was made possible through a private foundation donation and is part of Progress Dunnellon. An initiative led by United Way of Marion County, the city of Dunnellon and 15 other partners, Progress Dunnellon is a multi-year effort to combat poverty in Southwest Marion County utilizing the 2 Gen Poverty Alleviation model. 

“We are very excited to see this commitment to the families in Dunnellon and Southwest Marion County,” Scot Quintel, president of the United Way of Marion County said.  

Interested families, referral organizations, and volunteers are encouraged to contact United Way of Marion County. 

For volunteers, seeing a family succeed is quite the reward, Vance said.

“Our volunteers get to see first hand the progress these families make and how it transforms their lives,” she added.

For information, call Vance at 352-732-9696, ext. 215, email pvance@uwmc.org or visit www.uwmc.org/strong-famlies.