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updated: 10/10/2012 11:46 AM

Agency honored by national Ways to Work organization

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  • l-r: LCFS President & CEO Gene Svebakken, LCFS Community Services Director DeBorah Al-Waraqi, LCFS Ways to Work Loan Coordinator Jose Miranda

      l-r: LCFS President & CEO Gene Svebakken, LCFS Community Services Director DeBorah Al-Waraqi, LCFS Ways to Work Loan Coordinator Jose Miranda
    David Bakker

David Bakker

The ability of parents to get to and from work can mean the difference in a family being able to afford a safe place to live and putting regular meals on the table. Ways to Work helps families do that. Ways to Work is a program of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS) that helps families buy a car, allowing parents to more easily meet job demands while raising their children. A car can mean the difference in keeping or getting a better job, especially when a parent works odd hours or in an area where public transportation is iffy or nonexistent.

According to Community Services Director DeBorah Al-Waraqi, "the Ways to Work program came to LCFS because of the insight Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Bertrand had regarding the opportunities this program gives to participants to move closer towards economic self-sufficiency."

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LCFS was honored to be part of the recent WTW Institute, a conference put on by the national Ways to Work organization, which is based in Milwaukee. At the conference, LCFS received the 2012 Premier Path Program Award (sponsored by the Walmart Foundation). LCFS received the award for being a new agency (LCFS began offering the Ways to Work program in March 2011) that led other new Ways to Work agencies nationally in terms of loans closed (64) and having a zero default rate (no repossessions), something that no other agency offering Ways to Work was able to accomplish. As a result of this recognition, LCFS also received a monetary award from Ways to Work.

"Ways to Work is a program backed by results. It fulfills a vital need in our community," said LCFS' Executive Vice President & COO Mike Bertrand, "For many families, owning a car is the gateway to quality, higher paying jobs and access to better child care options. We work hard to service those families and thank Ways to Work for acknowledging our efforts."

To be eligible for Ways to Work, an applicant:

Must have been employed 20 hours-a-week for at least 6 months

Can be pursuing post high school education

Must reside in Cook County, DuPage County or Aurora

Must be a parent or guardian of a dependent child no older than 18 years

Must meet annual household income requirement

Must have exhausted other loan sources

To learn more about the Ways to Work program go to To find out if you qualify, call 1-800-363-5237.

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