August 29, 2023

Weekly Insights: United Against Poverty

In Indian River County, approximately 45% of households either live below the Federal poverty level or just above. This means that over 31,000 households struggle to manage daily financial pressures. United Against Poverty works to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency. The organization serves those in poverty by providing crisis care, case management, transformative education, food and household subsidy, employment training and placement, personal empowerment training and active referrals to other collaborative social service providers. 

In January 2023, IRCF awarded United Against Poverty $20,000 from the Community Enrichment Fund to support their Success Training Employment Program (STEP). Since then, 51 participants increased their income, 8 of them to over 100% of the poverty level, and 18 of them over the 200% of poverty level mark. In addition, 81 participants successfully completed STEP to graduation, 56 participants completed OSHA safety certification training, and 51 became CPR certified.

Alex Dejesus: A Resilient Single Mother Building a Bright Future

Alex Dejesus, a dedicated single mother of two, is an example of the way the STEP program transforms lives. Hailing from West Palm Beach, Alex brought with her a rich background in the customer service food industry. Her story is a testament to perseverance and determination. Upon joining the STEP program, Alex was working tirelessly as a shift supervisor at Papa John's Pizza, clocking nearly 60 hours a week to provide for her family. Her commitment to her children's well-being and her unwavering work ethic were evident from the start. Alex's participation in the program culminated in her graduation on July 22, 2022. Today, Alex is thriving as an employee of Perricone Juices, where she earns a commendable $16.25 per hour. Her achievements go beyond her professional growth, as she has consistently engaged with her success coach over the past year.

Alex's partnership with her success coach extends beyond the workplace. Together, they delve into critical financial aspects such as budgeting, savings strategies, and credit enhancement. These efforts are a testament to Alex's commitment to securing a stable and prosperous future for her family.

Looking ahead, Alex's aspirations are boundless. She has set her sights on a truly remarkable goal:
becoming a Sheriff Deputy. With unparalleled determination, Alex is currently collaborating with a
recruiter from Indian River State College (IRSC) to embark on the path of joining the law enforcement Basic Recruit Training program. Her journey towards this noble career is a testament to her unyielding spirit and the impact of the STEP program in guiding her toward success.

Weekly Insights works in conjunction with Indian River Indicators. Indian River Indicators was launched in June 2021 and originated after the completion of the 2019 Indian River Community Needs Assessment. It provides key data and information about our community that is updated annually and can be used to support and sustain proven programs. It can also be used by community leaders to develop policy, promote promising practices and inspire innovation that can lead to solutions to persistent community challenges. Indian River Community Foundation holds informational sessions on the first Tuesday of every month at 4pm via Zoom to introduce the community to this new resource. Please email Director of Philanthropy, Chiaka Nwosu at to attend a session.

To learn more visit and click “Indian River Indicators” or contact a member of the Community Foundation’s team at 772.492.1407.

share this post
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram