We have found for the entire two years that we have run Getting Ahead classes that most people find out about the class from people who have taken the class and love it. However, knowing that and utilizing that knowledge to the best of our ability seem to be two very different topics.
So about a year ago, we created an advisory board for our Getting Ahead program. The board is made up of five GA grads and two community members that facilitated the class. The goals for the board are: assist with marketing the class, organize and lead graduation for future classes, and plan special motivational events for grads on a semi-annual basis. We worked on understanding the importance of attending meetings, how to read minutes, how to make a motion, how to create effective forms of marketing, how to brainstorm, etc., and then we got busy!
That’s when the magic began.
Since the advisory board has helped with marketing, we have gone from not having enough people to run a class (summer 2011) to currently having a waiting list of over 40! We started by redesigning the brochure. We then identified events in town where people who might be interested in GA would be gathered and bought T-shirts for board members who then went to the gathering spots with the intention of talking to people about the class. More than 60 people have contacted us about our February class! (In each of the last two years, we only served 20 people each year.)
We now have each graduating class nominate one of their classmates to join the board. Each person can serve as long as they want.
I must admit—it is exciting to see what can happen when GA grads get engaged in change. It’s also important to remember… there are many times that grads can do it better than I can!
Carol Taylor is employed at Hope House in Findlay, OH as the Bridges Coordinator. Carol has been a certified Bridges trainer since June 2009 and is an author of one of the chapters in the book Vision To Action. She says the greatest compliment she receives is, “Your passion about this work is very obvious.”