Ahoj! (That’s Slovak for “Hello!”)

I will be traveling with Phil DeVol to Slovakia later this month to follow up on training requests resulting from Ruby Payne’s visit in May. Ruby’s initial visit to Slovakia was a great success. What we have found is that our strategies for reducing poverty, community change, and understanding the hidden rules of economic class appeal to communities around the world. Bill Baker (now our Slovakian contact) was given a copy of Bridges Out of Poverty by a friend. The constructs in Bridges resonated with Bill and the work he does with Romas in Slovakia, just as it resonates with those who use the constructs with professionals and people from poverty in the United States. That book prompted Bill and a colleague from Slovakia to become Certified Bridges Trainers.

While in Slovakia we will meet with six organizations expressing interest in using Bridges constructs. These organizations hope to create and build Bridges Communities in Slovakia and to build critical mass for Ruby’s work. In addition to three and a half days of presenting Bridges, Getting Ahead, and Bridges Communities to the leaders and staffs of the potential partners, we will also take an afternoon to give a presentation to mayors of several towns and cities and their staffs. The best-case long-term outcome would be the deployment of Bridges constructs in Slovakia, constructs that create change and hope for many communities far and near.

Stay tuned for an update on how our trip goes, how our concepts are received, what we learn from the Slovaks in the areas of poverty and solutions, and how we manage the language!

-Ruth Weirich, Vice President, aha! Process