Through some key partnerships in the community, Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. strives to ensure that individuals and families receive help in multiple areas of need.
From dental hygiene to an education, these partners provide essential services that might otherwise go unaddressed altogether.
For instance, dental work is often put off because of financial reasons. But through a partnership with local dentists, homeless and low-income individuals in Macon are now receiving much-needed dental care.
Eric Hall, DDS, works alongside two other dentists to provide dental screenings. Then, once a month, those who need treatment and brought to their office for basic dental work, including tooth
extraction,cleaning, fillings and gum treatment. Between the three of them, they are able to see about nine or 10 people on those days.
“There’s always going to be that need there and if no one does anything, it’s going to get worse,” Hall says. “A lot of them can get an infection, which could put them in the emergency room, and it’s often a simple fix if there’s someone there to do it.”
There are also several barriers that adults face when deciding to go back to school. As assistant vice president with adult education at Central Georgia Technical College, Sallie Devero knows that transportation and a lack of financial support are just a few of the challenges students face. But through a partnership with MBCEOC, students are finding a way to overcome these barriers and realize their potential by getting an education.
Since 2000, the EOC has partnered with Central Georgia Technical College in the adult education field. The agency offers a variety of wrap-around services to students through this partnership to ensure their success in the program and in life. Without those services, Devero believes more adults would choose not to go back to school at all.
“Retention is one of the biggest challenges we face and for some students, [dropping out] is a shame-based experience and isn’t something to brag about,” says Devero. “It takes people encouraging them to come back to school and help them overcome whatever obstacles they are facing. With the wrap-around services offered by Macon-Bibb, it takes those barriers out of the picture.”
For students who have transportation issues, MBCEOC offers bus passes so they can get back and forth from their home to class. The agency has also been instrumental in providing funding so there are more GED testing sites within the community, giving adults taking the test less distances to travel to do so.
“In Bibb County, particularly, without a GED or high school diploma, it is extremely difficult to find employment,” Devero says. “This partnership is helping people help themselves and find their motivation so that they can move forward.