Getting Ahead collaborator Main Street Ministries Houston, founded in 2009, brings together Operation ID and Shepherd’s Center, two established volunteer ministries of First Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. Both of these ministries were begun by First Presbyterian members who cared about the well-being of poor and homeless people in the area. The ministries started with friends meeting informally at the church, and as the years have passed, this work has developed into Main Street Ministries, whose myriad efforts impact the lives of thousands of Houstonians every year. The main focus of Main Street Ministries is to share the love of Jesus Christ and to empower the most vulnerable in the community to attain and experience purpose, renewal, and stability.

Main Street Ministries works closely with Bridges Out of Poverty facilitators, and it hosts Getting Ahead workshops for the community. The Ministry is intentional about including Getting Ahead graduates in creating organizational policy, improving programming, and creating new programs.

Two Getting Ahead graduates shared their experiences with Main Street Ministries/Getting Ahead.

One Getting Ahead graduate was asked, What is something you encountered in a Getting Ahead workshop you had to adapt to?

I realized I needed to be held accountable.

I recognized how to manage a crisis.

I learned that the solutions I plan for need to be future-directed.

I realized how low and off-target my spiritual resources were. I had to totally realign my idea of God in order to develop my spiritual resources. This has completely changed my life.

I realized I needed to manage my finances differently.

I learned time management skills, and I learned that in order to be prepared, I need to show up early.

Another Getting Ahead graduate was asked:

What was the most important thing you learned?

The mental model of the theory of change. I changed my style of thinking, and that was a jumpstart to Getting Ahead.

How did you create your own path?

I adopted a positive, solve-it attitude, I took the time to come to class, and I showed up to learn.

How did you change how you think and act?

Getting Ahead made me change the way I act. Instead of acting on emotions, I breathed, calmed down, and developed a plan for what I want to do. Thanks to Getting Ahead, I surrounded myself with likeminded people, people who are thinking ahead and embracing challenges. To build for the future, I look for resources that are more power-based. I am more confident now.

The aha! Process Getting Ahead program teaches investigators (participants) the realities of the conditions in their community and how these realities impact them, some of the “hidden rules” for getting ahead, skills that bring confidence to get ahead, how to build resources and make connections, and ways to create positive change and create stability. Getting Ahead workshops foster strong relationships and support.

For Getting Ahead and related books and other materials, click here.