South Central Human Resource Agency Sheds Light on the Stereotypes Surrounding People in Need.

by | Jun 2022

THE LAST thing we want people to say is, “I didn’t know where to go for help.” Deputy Director Sara Brown has been working for South Central Human Resource Agency (SCHRA) for the past six years. The agency is a government- funded initiative serving low-income families throughout all of Southern Middle Tennessee. They cover primarily rural areas, spanning over 6,000 square miles. Thirteen counties fall within their service range, including Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, and Wayne counties.

SCHRA has an extensive list of services offered to individuals and families in need. However, a common phrase that keeps being repeated at staff meetings by Brown and her colleagues is, “We are the best-kept secret.” And, unfortunately, it’s not because they want it to remain that way! Brown says, “We want people to know about us. We want to help.”

Over the last several years, Brown has seen firsthand that not everyone has the same type of support system backing them. Some of us come from phenomenal families. Others at least have friends that function as a family should. However, there are still some who may not be as fortunate. Some have no one to lean on for support.

Brown shared a fictional example of a mom working for $10 an hour at McDon- ald’s. The mom has two children at home and is considering taking the risk to go back to school. Brown said, “There is this concept for her to ‘pull herself up by the bootstraps’ and do better for herself. Yet, she is on a cliff. If any one of the pieces she has planned ahead for, falls out of place, she doesn’t have the support sys- tem for someone to bail her out or help her recover.”

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

Similarly, a lot of local families do not have that support either. Brown went on, “So yes, ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ is a great mentality, but it also is a falsehood in that, if I pull these bootstraps up and I fall down and fail, there are still two kids at home that need to be fed.” Regarding the realities many people are facing within our local community, Brown shared, “ While it’s a great concept to think that everybody can make some- thing of nothing, it’s also very difficult to take that leap without a support sys- tem. We aim to be that support system for people in our community.”

Each year, SCHRA touches over 100,000 families through various pro- grams and services. Two of the more heavily utilized services are the Low-In- come Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Head Start program.

LIHEAP is a program that assists low-income individuals or families in paying their utility bills. Unfortunately, not everyone has energy-efficient homes, nor can everyone afford to have windows replaced and updated. Some of these factors can cause an electric or gas bill to skyrocket. Imagine how overwhelm- ing it would be if your utility bill was more than half of your take-home pay. This program was created to assist in circumstances like these. LIHEAP is an allowance that is distributed yearly. About 8,000 families utilize this service of SCHRA.

Head Start is a preschool program that addresses the needs of the whole child. The preschool truly is a learning facility and not just a daycare. They have a set curriculum provided by the federal government. In addition to the curriculum, the children have regular health assessments covering behavior issues, mental and emotional health, medical needs, dental needs, and more. This comprehensive approach to caring for a child’s needs ensures they have a sort of readiness for kindergarten. Ad- ditionally, if any issues are found, the goal is to have those issues addressed by the time they enter the school system. This way, there will be less circumstances preventing them from becoming successful adults. -GN

More Good News

Faith: The Power of Perspective

Faith: The Power of Perspective

WE SAW the sky but little else through the window in the room where we sat. The gray and white clouds marched briskly by as blues and grays traded places.  She was convinced the clouds would...

read more
The Baldwin Cart Project

The Baldwin Cart Project

MR. HINSHAW’S Manufacturing Practicum class created a portable cart for Mrs. Baldwin’s Digital Arts class to hold their digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). Little did they know their senior capstone...

read more
A gift of compassion

A gift of compassion

THE HOLIDAYS are a joyous time of the year for many. Days filled with family and friends coming together to celebrate and spend time with each other. But for many, it can often be a stressful and...

read more
We’ve got the sauce

We’ve got the sauce

IT STARTED with the sauce. Take crushed tomatoes, add a splash of red wine, a whole lot of basil, and a few secret ingredients, and you get a hearty and authentic Italian red sauce that’s not too...

read more
A night out for creative souls

A night out for creative souls

THE CREATIVE souls of Manchester regularly enjoy wonderful, relaxing evenings at Manchester’s Board & Brush Creative Studio learning how to create signs as well as many other things from etched...

read more
A labor of love

A labor of love

IF YOU’RE looking for classic comfort food or freshly baked goods, The Mercantile Cafe in downtown Manchester is the perfect spot. Their wide variety of easy-to-grab selections for lunch and dinner...

read more
When reruns are Home Runs

When reruns are Home Runs

NECESSITY MAY be the mother of invention, but the pandemic birthed many new creative ventures – directly and indirectly. Lona Bailey’s is the indirect variety. Many of us rediscovered old television...

read more
Pittman: The Persistent Player

Pittman: The Persistent Player

THIS PRACTICE wasn’t like all the others. It was the last practice before the season opener; the official start of the season. You could feel the tension and excitement amongst the players. It was...

read more
This drum major is unstoppable!

This drum major is unstoppable!

THE AFTERNOON SUN beats down, throwing its last few heated punches before it sets for the evening. The smell of hotdogs and popcorn waft through the air luring patrons to the concession stands....

read more
The rescuing bond of love

The rescuing bond of love

THE BOND between a girl and her horse is one that cannot be broken. A horse can be broken, meaning it can undergo skillful training to become accustomed to carrying a rider. Similarly, a young...

read more
A teacher all about relationships

A teacher all about relationships

GENERALLY SPEAKING, one of the most dramatic periods of a person’s life happens during the adolescent years when the prefrontal cortex of the brain region (responsible for things like planning,...

read more
The AEDC Fellows

The AEDC Fellows

IF YOU LOOK at the major milestones in aerospace history, such as getting a man on the moon, most of the materials, rocket engines, and models were tested right here at Arnold Air Force Base (Arnold...

read more
Juneteenth

Juneteenth

“FREEDOM” enters the chatroom, and immediately it’s all, barbecued meat and who’s got the biggest bang of a firework show. While Independence Day is our nation’s designated time to pause and...

read more
Lights, camera, and Remodel

Lights, camera, and Remodel

MAYBE IT’S the pollen, but something about springtime creates an itch within us all to get busy. Whether it’s a simple task like cleaning out a cluttered closet or a more elaborate one such as...

read more
Southern Healing & Good Karma

Southern Healing & Good Karma

THE ORIGIN story of Manchester’s Southern Healing Farmacy and Good Karma Cafe is as fast as it is wild. “It was totally one of those God moments. Basically, I rode by a hemp field on a Sunday, and...

read more