The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Paving the way out of poverty

ELCA synods, social services and churches offer practical help and hope in Iowa

Tisha Smith glowed as she wore her new uniform to the Barnabas Uplift celebration in Waterloo, Iowa. She crossed the stage of Trinity American Lutheran’s fellowship hall, shook hands with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, accepted her certified nursing assistant certificate and heard that she was a role model.

For this she thanks Barnabas Uplift, a self-help program spearheaded by the Southeastern Iowa, Western Iowa and Northeastern Iowa synods and Lutheran Services in Iowa, an ELCA social ministry organization. The ministry offers people tools to lift them out of poverty.

“I’d been thinking about certified nursing assistant training for a long time but couldn’t come up with the dollars,” Smith says. “You have to pay a lot up front. This program made it possible.”

Smith contacted Barnabas Uplift after reading its newsletter. Program staff alerted her to training available through ISED Ventures, an agency that helps people start a small business, obtain a quality job and build financial assets.

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