The aha! Process Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World program centers on investigators, who, with a cohort of their peers and a workshop leader, investigate to learn why and how they are in poverty and how they can get out of poverty and stay out. Investigators learn about critical analysis, the theory of change, how to build resources, action plans, future stories, and more. For many Getting Ahead investigators, the program is a life-changing one.

Burlington Building Bridges, in Burlington, Iowa, is one of many organizations across the country that holds Getting Ahead classes. Its website describes Getting Ahead classes as follows: “This 18-week hands-on workshop empowers individuals that are struggling in poverty reach their fullest potential, develop their future story, and build a support system.

Tracie Shipp, a Getting Ahead graduate who participated in Getting Ahead through Burlington Building Bridges, wrote the following poem about her experience with Getting Ahead.

The aha! Process Getting Ahead program engages investigators (participants) in exploring the realities of poverty in their communities and how those realities impact them. They also explore the causes of poverty, the “hidden rules” of economic class, and ways to develop resources and build stable lives. Getting Ahead graduates build relationships across class lines and often join the decision-making tables in their communities.