Last year United States Representative Patrick Meehan came to visit our location after he had heard good things about what we were doing. At that time I introduced him to the Bridges framework. I told him that if he ever wanted to understand what life was like for those who are under-resourced, he should come back, and I would give him an audience with people in poverty to hear their stories.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Our regional food bank wanted to have Congressman Meehan meet with a food pantry to talk about SNAP benefits and the “cliff” effect. They choose to have the meeting at our location.
We hired four families in poverty as consultants and paid them to tell their stories to Congressman Meehan. I was so encouraged to hear them talk about the Getting Ahead class, how they have come to feel empowered, and how they have created a new future story. The senator was amazed and said he appreciated hearing how being low in one area of resources can impact so many other resources.
The biggest takeaway was the voice the consultants from poverty were given and how much it meant to them to be asked for their expertise. One of the participants who spoke texted me afterward and said: “Thank you for inviting me today. It was nice to have people listen to the truth. The Getting Ahead class helped me grow in many ways.”
I just wanted to encourage you with this story and let you know that the Bridges framework and the Getting Ahead class are truly impacting communities like ours!
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.
To learn more about great work like this happening all over the country, join us at the Addressing the Challenges of Poverty conference!
Categorized in: Community
This post was written by Chuck Holt