Urbana Woman Honored for Pursuit of Self-Sufficiency as RPC’s 2019 Families of Distinction Awardee

The RPC's Krist Sallee and 2019 Families of Distinction awardee Mary Blue

The RPC's Krist Sallee and 2019 Families of Distinction awardee Mary Blue (seated) at the Families of Distinction banquet held during IACAA's Annual Learning Conference in Springfield on May 5.

Urbana’s Mary Blue was one of 19 Illinois individuals or families honored at the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA) Annual Learning Conference in Springfield on May 5. The RPC’s No Limits program named Mary as its 2019 Families of Distinction awardee, an honor recognizing a family or individual who has overcome great personal and social obstacles in their pursuit of self-sufficiency with the assistance of a Community Action Agency.

During a banquet at the IACAA conference, the IACAA’s 40 member agencies, which include the RPC, celebrated select individuals or families from around the state for embodying many of the characteristics of stability. These include employment, education and cognitive development, income and asset building, housing, health and social/behavioral development, and civic engagement and community involvement. Awardees typically embody at least three of the six areas of stability.

“Mary has fully engaged in the No Limits program and has gained confidence and dedication in her abilities,” says Krist Sallee, the No Limits case manager who has worked with Mary. “This dedication has allowed her to not only achieve the goals she set with our program, but to strive forward and achieve many more.”

Mary entered the No Limits program seeking assistance to gain housing, secure a savings plan, and obtain assistance with purchasing a reliable vehicle. After working with Krist, she was able to move herself out of homelessness and secure housing, where she was able to begin repairing her credit and committing to agreed-upon monthly payments. She has already paid off a portion of her debt.

Now putting a portion of her earnings towards housing needs, vehicle expenses, and a savings account that allows her bills to be paid on time, Mary has gained significant progress with her goals. She has also been advocating for herself in the community, which has led to her receiving several letters of recommendation to be able to move into a subsidized housing option of her choice. This has allowed her to save more money and make higher payments towards paying off her debt.

The RPC’s No Limits program helps qualifying members of the Champaign County community improve their quality of life. Families and individuals work with case managers to establish relationships based on mutual respect, trust, responsibility, and hope in order to bring about a higher level of self-sufficiency. Members of the RPC’s Community Action Board, which serves as an advisory board for the RPC, chose Mary as the 2019 Families of Distinction awardee.

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