What We Identified

A network of personal relationships is often overlooked as one of the key components to surviving and thriving.

Families that not only survive crises but also thrive usually have a number of friends or family that they can call on for help. These networks also offer commiseration, validation, encouragement, and counsel that can prevent social isolation, which often helps create or reinforce poverty.

A lack of such networks is often why people in need must turn to the resources and services provided by society’s “safety net” programs, but the help such programs provide is only short-term. They are only intended to stabilize families and do almost nothing to assist clients in building their social networks, essentially leaving them in the same position when it comes to long-term support.

Those from more financially stable households can also suffer social isolation and its resulting effects. But if connected in a meaningful way with those outside of their own spheres, these people not only reap the benefits of an expanded network but also can realize that there are many in our community who have experienced life in a much different—and, often, much harsher—way through no fault of their own. Coming from a place of mutual understanding, respect, and friendship, those who have been more fortunate can advocate for and help empower those in the community who are less able to share in the prosperity of our region due to systemic factors beyond their control.

We are focused on building social networks across socioeconomic lines that benefit all those involved and lead to transformative action to better the lives of everyone in Northwest Arkansas.

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Expanding Diverse Social Networks
Excellerate has partnered with Potter’s House to see how its model of creating diverse social networks can be expanded to include family-to-family relationships.