If we tell our Schenectady story, the turning point really took place in around 2009. That’s when we connected with Bridges Out of Poverty. So many of the breakthroughs we have had in Schenectady are directly connected to our partnership with aha! Process and other Bridges communities around the country.

I’d like to open with a story, and this story involves a Getting Ahead program that we run in Schenectady County at the drug court.

Now, most of you probably know what a drug court is. Here in Schenectady County it is that final stop before you go to jail or prison. These are for folks who have committed criminal offenses, have substance abuse problems, and the criminal justice system says, “We’re going to give you one more chance here. And if you engage and complete this program, you do not have to be incarcerated.”

We have found Getting Ahead to be a great vehicle for the judges and those who run drug court. At a recent graduation, one of the graduates came forward, and here’s what he said: “First of all, I never thought I would be in a courtroom and people would be cheering for me…”

To hear more, listen to the podcast.