Getting ahead

Getting Ahead graduates at their “Wake Up & Change Poverty into Prosperity” pajama party. Photo courtesy of Common Heart


MONROE– After years of struggling to keep up with medical bills following major heart and kidney issues, Marie “Rosie” Kreutzer was in trouble. 

Food always seemed to be running low and this self-described “positive person” was emotionally and physically drained. 

She was in line at a Common Heart drive-thru mobile food pantry in Monroe when she first heard about the Getting Ahead focus/empowerment group. There, she met Sarah Kimbrough, a program graduate and facilitator, who was talking with neighbors and passing out flyers about the next session of the empowerment focus group. 

Rosie was among five women who celebrated the completion of Getting Ahead last month with a graduation celebration. They chose the theme “Wake Up & Change Poverty into Prosperity” and decided to make it a pajama party.

Applications are now being accepted for the next session which begins Sept. 28 in Monroe. Classes will be held Tuesday and Thursday evenings with dinner provided. Participants receive a Wal-Mart gift card for every session they attend, up to $425 by the end of the session. Call Sandy Reid at 704-218-9060 ext. 1008 or email for more details. 

“At first, I was really skeptical,” Rosie said. “I thought ‘Yeah right someone’s going to give me $425 just for attending classes?’” 

Rosie knew she could also attend Common Heart’s food pantry that evening in Wingate. When she went, she saw Kimbrough talking with neighbors and passing out flyers. 

“I laughed and told her, ‘Truthfully I’ve been thinking about it all day, I prayed about it and when I saw you I thought it’s a sign.’” 

Rosie loved Getting Ahead so much that she’s already started training to become a co-facilitator for the next session this fall. 

“I discovered I have resources, I have ways to get out of this,” she said. “There’s just so many different things that started coming to light. It’s very empowering.”

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