Bridges certified training: Developing a common language and philosophy about poverty

April 17, 2017 Published by

In 2011 the principal of an elementary school in my area of southeastern Pennsylvania suggested that I attend the Bridges Out of Poverty certified training. Beth Reinhart’s simple suggestion turned out to be a cornerstone for the Bridges Out of Poverty initiative in our community the past six years.

During the training I came to understand the basic concepts of this model, and I was given a common language and philosophy that I could take back to my community.

After the certified training, I was able to communicate how different this approach is in working with poverty issues. The training helped me look at things strategically, and it provided me the ability to speak in my community about getting to root causes of poverty. From there our Bridges community has continued to grow and flourish.

In the years since 2011 there have been others in our community who have heard me present the Bridges Out of Poverty workshop. A number of persons have been drawn to the model and have wanted to become certified trainers themselves. Because of their passion, we have found ways to fund these additional certified trainers.

Early on we found that individuals had to be drawn to the model before sending them to training so they could return and continue expanding the community work. Currently we have certified trainers in Bridges Out of Poverty and A Framework for Understanding Poverty. We also have certified Getting Ahead facilitators. Future goals include having people certified in all three areas in order to grow our Bridges initiative.

When I talk with others who want to establish a Bridges community, they often ask me about the importance of having certified trainers. I always emphasize that they are the keys to substantive change and growth with regard to local poverty issues and the people in poverty themselves. More trainers = more positive community outcomes.

In June 2017 the next in-person certified trainings for Bridges Out of Poverty, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, and College Achievement Alliance will take place in San Antonio, Texas. Our community initiative will be sending two more people to be certified. Our goal is to keep our Bridges community strong. Having multiple people certified is vital to keeping our initiative going and growing. Visit The Factory Ministries website to learn more about the Bridges Out of Poverty learning community in Paradise, Pennsylvania.



aha! Process National Consultant Chuck Holt has been president/CEO of The Factory Ministries, a nonprofit, faith-based, social services agency in Paradise, Pennsylvania, since 2006. He has spent nearly 30 years working with communities, particularly churches and public schools, to build collaborative teams. Since 2011 Holt has led the Bridges Out of Poverty initiative in the Pequea Valley. In 2015 he and Sharon Ray co-authored a chapter titled “Faith-Based Ministries and Public Schools: Building Bridges and Addressing Poverty—Together” in the aha! Process book From Vision to Action, Volume II. Holt has a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He and his wife, Claudia, have raised five adopted children and have had 24 foster children.

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This post was written by Chuck Holt

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