Laying the Foundation
Organizing and running a successful Getting Ahead initiative takes planning. So does supporting graduates as they transition from poverty. Start your initiative by laying a firm foundation.
Step 1. Become familiar with Getting Ahead.
- It’s important to know the basic language and constructs that underlie Getting Ahead and to understand the paradigm shift that occurs with the work. Here are a couple of good places to start:
- Read the book, Bridges to Sustainable Communities, for an overview of Bridges concepts and how to build a Bridges Out of Poverty/Getting Ahead collaborative.
- Host a Bridges Out of Poverty workshop for your team and community members. Invite as many people as possible to build a shared language and spark collaboration.
- Many other sources of information also are available. The first 56 pages of the Facilitator Notes for Getting Ahead, for example, contain information especially for sponsors, funders, and community organizers as well as facilitators.
- Attending the national conference, Addressing the Challenges of Poverty, and reading the book, From Vision to Action, are additional ways to find out about other practitioners’ successes and challenges.
- Or, simply call us at (800) 424-9489. We’ll be happy to help you get the information you need to build a successful initiative.
Step 2. Build a foundation to support Getting Ahead graduates.
- When you offer Getting Ahead to people in poverty, you make a promise that the sponsor and community will provide long-term support while graduates build resources and transition out of poverty. That promise must not be broken.
- Begin with the end in mind. Before you hold your first class, determine how you will support graduates as they stabilize their situations. This includes:
- Recruiting “allies,” or members of the community who do not live in poverty and agree to provide meaningful support and encouragement to Getting Ahead graduates. These allies should have an understanding of Bridges Out of Poverty.
- Developing a way for allies and graduates to regularly come together, such as monthly meetings that provide graduates with bridging social capital and bring all stakeholders together to solve problems.
- Planning for additional follow-up programs. For example, Getting Ahead graduates often seek financial literacy classes and information about managing emotions.
- Encouraging all sectors of your community to apply Bridges concepts so many pathways out of poverty can be developed.
For more information about the steps associated with launching a Getting Ahead initiative, click on the links below:
Looking for more support? Let us make it easy for you. Call us at (800) 424-9489 or request information online.