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Family Access Network, partner agencies host poverty expert for all-day workshop

Family Access Network

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Family Access Network and FAN Steering Committee member organizations hosted award-winning speaker Dr. Donna Beegle for an all-day training workshop at the Tower Theatre in Bend on Wednesday.

Dr. Beegle’s experiences during 28 years of living in extreme generational poverty are complemented by her academic research, creating invaluable training for FAN advocates and community service providers who work with a growing population of those experiencing poverty.

FAN hosted the Dr. Beegle workshop “so that those who work with people in poverty can better understand their clients' perspectives,” said Robyn Harmon, FAN Program Assistant. “With better understanding comes better communication and results. When we recognize the perspectives of those in poverty, we can get past our own judgments. In a nutshell, we want to help our advocates and community partners communicate better with their clients and understand the culture of poverty.”

As the co-founder and president of Communication Across Barriers, Dr. Beegle and her team provide presentations, training, educational materials, and organizational assessments around the world to educate on the causes of poverty with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. Dr. Beegle emphasized, “many times our assumptions and stereotypes get in the way of us doing the right thing.”

Training attendees represented over 15 government and nonprofit agencies, all of whom work with clients facing poverty. One attendee was Johannah Johnson-Weinberg, the Community Outreach Lead with Thrive Central Oregon and the founder of Companion Animal Medical Project. She stated, “Dr. Donna Beegle invited us to see poverty through a different lens – pushing and allowing us to better understand the myriad of factors that cause generational, situational, and systemic poverty. Her ability to speak candidly and personally about her lived experience was humbling. In the work we do, we can so easily lose sight of the “why” and the person in front of us. Everyone has a story and a “why” – don’t lose sight of that. Thank the individual who showed up that day or called. They deserve the respect for whatever they had to overcome in that moment to show up in the way they know how.”

The workshop was sponsored by the following partner agencies: High Desert ESD, The FAN Foundation, Deschutes County Equity and Inclusion Committee, Bend Park & Recreation District, Bethlehem Inn, Housing Works and Families Forward, Jericho Road, United Way of Central Oregon, TRACEs, and Mosaic Medical.

Unique to Central Oregon, FAN began in 1993 and currently employs 30 advocates at 66 sites in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties. These advocates work tirelessly to help families break the cycle of poverty. The direct placement of FAN advocates within schools allows FAN to effectively reach and connect disadvantaged children and families to essential basic needs.

To learn more about the Family Access Network, please visit www.familyaccessnetwork.org or call (541) 693-5675.

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