When I get asked about the work we do at ECS, I often find myself talking about our employees, programs, interns, and volunteers committed to working in challenging conditions to do the work that serves our region’s most vulnerable individuals.
Our youth programs consist of ECS’ Out of School Time (OST) program for elementary and middle-schoolers, the Seeing Youth Succeed program, a growing suite of initiatives for under-resourced youth ages 14 through 23, and the ECS Employment Center, which helps connect well-prepared job seekers to employers and mentors. It is my belief that the way out of poverty is a job – a job built on the foundation of education, training, safety, security, and stability.
ECS St. Barnabas Mission is a homeless shelter for women and their children located at 60th and Girard in West Philadelphia. It is also developing long-term housing options and community programming – this includes the existing ECS FAST Housing program.
We also have a long history of caring for the elderly. ECS Home Care helps seniors maintain their independence at home by providing reliable personal care, homemaking, and companionship. ECS Home Care is available to both Medicare patients and through private pay, where all proceeds benefit ECS’ core mission. We also serve seniors through Dolphins of Delaware Valley, an ECS Mission, which recruits and trains volunteers to visit residents in area nursing homes.
We are also opening missions that provide a range of services in Darby, PA where poverty is pervasive.
Finally, we provide services to the 138 parishes of the diocese to help build capacity for mission through education, training, and hands-on volunteer opportunities. ECS Consulting provides free and reduced-cost professional consultation to Episcopal parishes and community organizations so that these groups can better tackle social issues in their own communities. Such services include strategic planning, technology, stewardship, finance, governance, marketing, leadership development, as well as parenting workshops and cognitive-behavioral therapy training.
Yes, these are our programs, but this is not what we do.
At ECS, everything we do focuses on the most vulnerable. We provide tools and services that enable individuals to lift themselves up and out of poverty. We focus on clients, not contracts, by listening to their needs and responding to what they tell us. We help them find the pain and the tools to fix it long term. Poverty robs people of choice, and our work is all about the restoration of choice.
We do not care who does the work, as long as the work gets done. We believe that as a faith-based organization, we are obligated to lean into our baptismal covenant and advocate for and give voice to the voiceless.
As said by Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, “it is about access to opportunity and moving from program thinking to systems change thinking and advancing equity for all people. At the core of equity is equal access and opportunity.”
This is what we do at ECS.
We are a lift up, lift out agency. We restore choice.
Join us. Help us give the most vulnerable in our region the skills to have choice, because no one chooses poverty.