Paying It Forward

TIP has strengthened me. It’s helped me to realize what I want and recognize the strength I already had...

Families are the keystone of our continuum of care at Center For Family Services. We strive to keep families together, reunite them, and make them stronger, healthier, and more independent through each of our 65 programs. Our TANF Initiative for Parents (TIP) program is no exception.

TIP takes Camden County parents from good to great. The program provides parenting skills, education, and welfare-to-work support to expectant women and new mothers with a baby under the age of one.  Program goals include providing the supports to ensure the welfare of children and to stabilize families and promote self-sufficiency. 

Margaret Brown came to TIP after becoming unemployed during her pregnancy with her second daughter, Cianni, now five years old. “I was very reluctant to enroll in TANF and the TIP program,” recalls Margaret, who at the time was beginning to take classes to receive her Associates Degree in Addictions Counseling.

Immediately after beginning TIP, Margaret met with a case manager to learn the rules of the program, to share her goals and dreams, and to create a service plan. Weekly, in between educational workshops, employment exploration, parenting support groups, and child development classes, Margaret’s case manager would follow up with her to on her goal setting and current progress within the program.

Margaret was thriving.

“TIP not only gave me with the resources to continue my education and to be a provider for my children, it blessed me with a support system”, says Margaret. “My family was weak, I didn’t have a support system at home. At TIP, I met people that I am still in contact with and we support each other. I also gained professional references that have helped my career.”

After graduating from TIP, Margaret’s career transitioned quickly and steadily. She not only gained that Associates degree, she earned her Bachelors in Social Work and is currently working towards her Masters at Rutgers Camden. And she’s back at TIP, this time as a full time Job Coordinator, helping women just like her succeed.

“I’m a Camden City resident, I want to pay it forward. I’ve been down many roads that our clients are facing and I’ve learned that our address does not define who we are. Once you put your first foot forward, doors will open. It’s a gift to be able to give back from the same road that I came down.”

“The program has strengthened me," says Margaret, "It’s helped me to realize what I want, recognize the strength I already had, and opened my eyes to everything that is around me.”