THRIVE Peninsula, Inc.: Helping hands when crisis strikes

Stretching the Point

THRIVE Peninsula staff and volunteers dressed in white for Poverty Awareness Month (January). THRIVE helps ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families by providing, food, critical bill assistance to pay for housing and other expenses and financial coaching services. Left to right: Regan Mosely, Johniene Miller, Donna Casella, Felicia Holliday, Mary Retzlaff (staff), Angela York (staff).

In a world where profit and greed are often the established mindset, it can be difficult to find companies whose sole mission is to give so others’ lives may be better, more productive and more rewarding. For a local company, THRIVE Peninsula, Inc., located on Warwick Boulevard in Newport News, the goal is just that – to equip people with what they need to make it through difficult, typically unexpected, circumstances.

Angela York, THRIVE’s executive director.

THRIVE Peninsula, Inc. began in 1973, when a group of volunteers from local churches joined together to create a central place where people could get assistance. The company was founded as DUCO, or Denbigh United Christian Outreach and was coordinated via telephone. In time, other local churches joined the ranks and, today, about 80 churches are involved in the endeavor. To embody the company’s mission more accurately, the name of the organization was changed to THRIVE Peninsula, Inc. in 2013, 40 years from its inception, and its lifeblood is still in the hands of volunteers.

THRIVE’s purpose is to provide emergency rent and utility assistance, along with other help as needed for financial sustainability. The organization serves the greater Hampton Roads area and last year alone, assisted 16,322 people — that is, people who have experienced some financial devastation, such as job loss or reduction in work hours. “Sometimes it’s just folks who are living paycheck to paycheck already and their car breaks down and they can’t fix it,” says Angela York, THRIVE’s executive director. “They have to get to work; they can’t get there; they miss work. It’s a vicious cycle.”

When people are down on their luck, it’s good to know there are places like THRIVE to help, but some may be hesitant to reach out for fear of being humiliated. THRIVE does everything in its power to offer these people quality assistance. “We really care about the people we serve,” says York. “In everything we do, we employ dignity restoring practices. We’re not treating them as if they’ve made mistakes and done something wrong.” And, in fact, THRIVE will do all it can to ensure people get what they need, even if it means going the extra mile.

Recently, THRIVE offered food to a homeless man who never came to get it. He was contacted by phone, and it was learned he had no transportation and, therefore, couldn’t work. Within a few hours, THRIVE delivered food to him, then went to social media with a request for a bicycle, which he received not long after. “He came to pick up his bike last week and he was overjoyed,” says York. “He kept commenting how nice the bike was and how much he wanted to give me a hug for how much THRIVE had helped him.”

Perhaps the greatest service THRIVE offers is its financial coaching, which is required for those seeking assistance. “We try to work with families to help them make their money work for them; having financial knowledge is like another tool in their toolkit,” York says. As incentive for continuance of financial coaching, the company offers individuals its Take 3 program. “If they come back two more times, they can earn a THRIVE Care Kit, which has $50 worth of toiletries and household goods,” says York.

While THRIVE commendably lends a hand for those suffering significant financial difficulty, its greatest achievement is helping individuals and families reach a place of financial stability that lasts far beyond the unexpected crisis.

Angela York has been with THRIVE for five years and clearly possesses a heart for those in need, but her giving doesn’t stop there. As a mother of a toddler son, York enjoys time with him at the park, playing “and all that stuff,” and it is through her little boy that York’s giving is truly immortalized.

TO THE POINT:
THRIVE Peninsula, Inc.
Address: 13195 Warwick Blvd.,
Newport News, VA 23602
Contact: Angela York, executive director
Phone: 757-877-6211
Website: thrivepeninsula.org

About Terilyn Goins, Ph.D. 46 Articles
Dr. Terilyn J. Goins is a motivational speaker/vocalist, trainer and coach. She offers a wide variety of training and motivational music programs. Goins creates programs that educate, inspire and challenge participants. Visit www.terilyngoins.com or reach her at 757-303-7807 or by email at terilyngoins@cox.net.

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