Taking action to battle poverty isn’t new for Sister Tarcisia Roths, ASC. The former Newman University president has been involved in Thrive! Delano since 2014 and continues to work closely with the organization that helps families become self-sustaining.
Two of her fellow Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) sisters work with her as allies in the program, Sisters Bernadine Wessel and Nancy Ames.
The ASC founded Newman University in 1933, then known as Sacred Heart Junior College, and are the university’s only sponsors. ASC foundress, St. Maria De Mattias, was a champion for the poor and taught women and children.
Thrive! Delano started in 2014 as the Wichita Circles Network Delano Site Inc. and was led by Roths as a director alongside Karen Carney and Stacy Cofer. It was renamed Thrive! Delano in 2018 with Kit Lambertz, director of Dear Neighbor Ministries and StepStone, as board chair. Roths now acts as one of the mentors, known as an ally.
Thrive! Delano’s main goal is to help break the circle of poverty through community classes titled “Getting Ahead” and mentorship. Roths said they want to help community members “thrive, not simply survive.”
Roths said, “We want them to get to a point where they can be self-sustaining and can move into the kind of life that we want everybody to have, not just worrying where their next meal is coming from.”
The group first met at a Baptist church downtown and Christ the King. They have since moved to the Hilltop Community Center, where they also hold their community class.
Many families come from Dear Neighbor Ministries to enroll in the class, which lasts for about 18 months and helps them understand what is keeping them in poverty and what they need to do to overcome adversity.
After completing the class, they begin meeting with allies weekly. Roths said many of the attendees are single parents but there are some families as well. Each class cohort has approximately 10 individuals or couples.
“With Thrive!, we are trying to take families and bring them into relationships with people,” said Roths. “Relationships are probably the most important thing because you’re not just giving them a permanent solution rather than relying on a little help here and a little help there. We want them to get away from that ‘Bandaid approach.'”
She said marketing is mainly done through word of mouth, church bulletins and information passed through organizations like Dear Neighbors Ministries.
The classes are held in the evenings and child care is provided. Volunteers come from all over the community to assist as allies and donations help Thrive! Delano continue purchasing material for the class attendants. Anyone interested in helping Thrive! Delano can contact Roths at the ASC Wichita Center (316) 943-0818.