By Gail Clark for TCAJOB
The feeling of having strayed from positive, productive paths in their lives and lacking the self-confidence to move forward was the recurring theme related by the recent graduates from the “Don’t Quit” program.
Each graduate expressed appreciation for the guidance and positive impact they experienced from their instructors and the “Don’t Quit” curriculum.
For more than 20 years, hundreds of individuals facing similar challenges have found hope and the tools to not quit on themselves or a productive future by completing the “Don’t Quit” workshop series.
The workshops, held at Columbia Basin College, are funded by the PDQ (emPowering people to Develop Quality lives) Foundation.
“There has been an excellent retention rate in these workshops,” said PDQ Foundation board member Rick Olivas. Olivas said 90 percent of those who started the program this year, completed it.
A facilitator guides workshop participants through the “Don’t Quit” curriculum, helping them learn how to cope with discouragement, how to create a personal mission statement and ways to maintain the focus to achieve those goals and dreams. Team building exercises also support participants’ efforts to build a stable foundation for accepting yourself, enhancing self-esteem and being accountable.
The “Don’t Quit” workshops, cost participants a nominal tuition but scholarships are available based on financial need. Nearly thirty local agencies refer clients to this program. Former workshop participants also send friends or relatives to the program, hoping to impart to others the life-changing impact they experienced.
Asking for help in the midst of a personal challenge is the first, and likely the most difficult, step to regaining self-confidence and the motivation to seek perhaps additional education, skills, or a new job.
“We saw a need in the community and decided we could do something about it,” said Christopher Turner, a founding member of the PDQ Foundation.
“Now, we raise funds so we can give scholarships to individuals applying to the “Don’t Quit” program or organizations that assist people facing personal challenges,” he said.
The PDQ Foundation hopes to expand the workshops to include a series taught to Spanish-only speakers that will address their educational and cultural needs. The “Don’t Quit” curriculum also continues to evolve with changing technology and global issues.
In addition to providing funds for the “Don’t Quit” workshops, the PDQ Foundation has also awarded funds for a part-time GED teacher through WorkSource and for counseling to victims of domestic violence.
The nonprofit foundation is governed by a board of volunteers focusing their efforts on fundraising.
Their fundraising events include the annual Sunset Stride and Stroll, held in early October. The April No-Foolin’ Fundraiser is an appeal to donors to simply contribute from the comfort of their recliner.
The PDQ Foundation is seeking new board members to increase the size of their board. The board hopes that bringing in new members with fundraising ideas will expand the group’s potential to support more life-changing programs.
Monthly meeting are from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at WorkSource.
For more information on the PDQ Foundation, contact Rick Olivas, 430-8712 or www.PDQFoundation.org.