The following is from Kathleen Webb, executive director of Children 1st in Wichita, Kansas.

RonRon was introduced to Children 1st by his closest friend during a time of immense turmoil for his family. With their apartment complex being sold and Ron subsequently losing his job, they faced the grim prospect of sleeping in their car. However, Children 1st stepped in, providing them with temporary housing and even helping retrieve their family car from repossession.

 Their support didn’t end there. Through their assistance, Ron resolved legal hurdles hindering his employment prospects. With stability restored, he seized the opportunity to participate in the Getting Ahead program. Learning about middle class values and workplace expectations was eye-opening for Ron. Armed with this knowledge, he landed a job at a major manufacturer, marking a significant leap towards lifting his family out of poverty. The prospect of benefits like a 401K and dental insurance now feels within reach, fueling his determination to succeed.

 Today, Ron is focused on advancing his skills through blueprint and sheet metal classes, confident that the trajectory of his family’s future has been forever altered by the transformative experience of Getting Ahead. From a promotion at work, he was able to pay cash for a newer car and move into a better neighborhood, which has allowed him to take better care of his children and grandchildren.

The aha! Process Getting Ahead program engages investigators (participants) in exploring the realities of poverty in their communities and how those realities impact them. They also explore the causes of poverty, the “hidden rules” of economic class, and ways to develop resources and build stable lives. Getting Ahead graduates build relationships across class lines and often join the decision-making tables in their communities.

Children First Inc. (Children 1st) is a social service nonprofit organization in Wichita, Kansas, with a mission to support students to feel safe and empowered, so they can learn and thrive, by staying in school and achieving in life.