COT organization hopes to make impact in lives

Published 9:35 pm Thursday, May 12, 2016

By Jasmyne RayThe Selma Times-Journal

More than 30 percent of the citizens in Selma are in poverty, according to the United States Census Bureau. To combat these statistics, a group has been formed to help those in need get on the path to success.

Communities of Transformation (COT) is an organization that partners volunteers with people in the community who can benefit from assistance with job readiness, personal finance, relationship skills and more. The participants go through 12 weeks of classes where they learn skills like how to prepare for a job interview; creating and sticking to financial plans; building strong, positive relationships; and setting goals.

“It helps them move from dependency and poverty to independence,” said Dorothy Fitts, the VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) representative for the organization.

Fitts has been with the organization since August and has seen the effects the program has on participants like Columbus Mitchell.

Mitchell says that the COT has empowered him to make wiser decisions to improve his life.

“It’s really helped me refocus my life and know that I can actually achieve things.” Mitchell said. “They’ve really given me an opportunity to look beyond just where I’m at now, but to the future.”

So far COT has had two successful workshops, one four-week program dealing with financial management and another five-week program focused on job readiness.

According to Steve Kopp, pastor of Memorial United Methodist Church, the main goal of the organization is to help their participants “see life in a better place.”

“Whether it’s financial independence, whether it’s relationships, whether it’s physical or even spiritual,” Kopp said. “Depending on where they were — they can discover for themselves where they need to be.”

All of COT’s programs and workshops are centered around what’s referred to as the Big Five: physical, spiritual, financial, relational and emotional development.

“Most of us have one or two that we’re okay at, but most of us … find out that we’re broken somewhere and need a little help,” Kopp said.

The next Taste and See for COT will be on May 23 at Memorial United Methodist Church at 5:30 p.m. Kopp as well as all the volunteers encourage members of the community to come enjoy the fellowship and learn more.