Have you ever watched an adventure movie where you see those explorers out in front of the movie’s hero getting caught up in a trap that wraps around their ankles and shoots them into the sky? Or they are scorched by the dragon awaiting them? Or they are the first ones to fall into the big hole covered by brush? Maybe that is a bit dramatic, but it’s a good visual to keep in mind as you learn from those who have gone before you in building a Bridges Out of Poverty Community. In this blog I will be sharing with you what has been encountered by those who have gone before you. Heeding the advice of other practitioners could make you into that hero or heroine.

Picture if you will a successful Bridges community—one where all sectors and economic classes are working together toward a healthy, sustainable community. A community where lives are being strengthened. A community where those in poverty are provided the opportunity and tools to build a stable life. A community where strong planning and communication are working in sync. Can you envision this?

As you work at building this community (and it is possible), I encourage you to think through and consider laying a strong foundation for the work. Where do I suggest you begin?

  1. By communicating, communicating, and then communicating some more. Bring together those with the passion and vision to move this initiative forward. Talk with those who do not understand the work or who want to keep doing the work without including others. The more you communicate, the more people will learn about the initiative. Those that can really help make things happen will step up to join you.
  2. Collaborate with those already walking the path toward building a sustainable community. Come together and discuss what you have in common. Make sure everyone understands the language you are using. Use strengths that others can provide for the initiative. Find those in your community who can fill in the gaps for strengths that are not already represented. Make sure you have all three economic classes at the table.
  3. Work on your funding as part of the initiative. You can have a wonderful group of people working on building a sustainable community, but without funds you fill find yourself struggling to continue the initiative. That’s where the next suggestion comes into play: Focus on planning.
  4. Planning is important. Many times the constructs of Bridges build such excitement that you can find yourself wanting to run ahead of the plan. Don’t be tempted! Nothing will torpedo your initiative faster than not having a plan worked out as you move forward. This will help others figure out where they fit and how they can help. Once you have the people and the plan in place, you will be able to move forward with confidence.