Investigator Input & Stories

We are often asked about the results of our work. Some of the most compelling data we have is qualitative: the testimonies and stories of our Getting Ahead graduates.

To read what Getting Ahead facilitators say, click on Facilitator Input and Stories.

Are you a Getting Ahead graduate with a story to tell? Send it to

Ready to help people in your community write some success stories? Call us at (800) 424-9484 or request information online.

Click below to read what Getting Ahead graduates say about their experiences:

  • Eddie Polanco a Getting Ahead graduate and Drug Court graduate and now a GA Facilitator and a Certified Bridges Trainer.  Read his paper, “Facilitation is not Instructing.”
  • Bartlett TN: Deloris Clayborne, GA grad, picks up a Bachelors Degree and starts a non-profit. Read her story.
  • Reno, NV Getting Ahead group shares a video of their Mental Model of Poverty: A recent Getting Ahead group of young adults really wanted to capture and show people what poverty in our community looks like. They didn’t feel that a mental model was enough to capture the REAL story. They started by arranging a planning meeting. We met at a local McDonalds and discussed what would be needed to do this. They picked a Saturday so everyone could be included. We all broke up into groups, went out into our community and started taking pictures of everything we had identified on our mental model. They then came back and turned those pictures into a video. The end result was something each and every one of them could confidently say “this truly shows what poverty looks like in our community and our leaders of our community need to see it.”
  • Darlene Smith from South Bend, Indiana shares her thoughts about her life and the changes she is making.  She says, ““Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Keep going, don’t stop. I feel like I’m on a journey, and this is a true story. I’m on this journey, and if I stop…nuh uh, I can’t stop. Gotta keep going. Because God has something planned for me. Gotta keep on going. We’re only promised today, we aren’t guaranteed today, and the past is gone. I take every bit of the day and keep going.”
  • Victor Bailey,  Schenectady, NY, describes his thinking before Getting Ahead: “My mental model growing up was one of ‘staying in my place.'”
  • Sherrie Butts, a Lucas County, OH, Getting Ahead graduate, now works the front desk at Job and Family Services. Her personal experiences and Getting Ahead training help her work with the organization’s clients more effectively.
  • Dawn Close from Dubuque, IA, on the “brilliance” of Getting Ahead.  Dawn is a Getting Ahead graduate and a facilitator. She wrote this description of why and how Getting Ahead works.
  • Kadie Ford from South Bend, IN writes about poverty and the changes in her life in two papers, “What I Have Learned” and “Reflections”.
  • Sonia Holycross, a Getting Ahead graduate, Circle leader, and AmeriCorps Vista worker in Troy, OH went to West Virginia with a Bridges team in 2007 to introduce Bridges to the state Juvenile Services Department.
  • Rochelle Plummer, Gettysburg, PA, wrote a poem entitled “Poverty is my Foe.”
  • Tammy Schoonover, Quakertown, PA, shares an investigator’s comments on Getting Ahead, “I knew where I wanted to be, but I didn’t know how to get there. The Getting Ahead course has shown me areas of my life where I have sabotaged obtaining my goals without even realizing it.”
  • Christi Vaughn from the City Mission Getting Ahead group in Schenectady, NY, shares a mental model that depicts life as it was and life as she sees it in the future.
  • YWCA, St. Joseph County: A client’s perspective of Getting Ahead.
  • Beverly Campbell came to a Getting Ahead class at a time in her life when the lack of resources in multiple areas was sending her in a downward spiral, causing her to feel depressed and hopeless. The Getting Ahead class offered her practical help and real hope that she could create a better future. Understanding the true causes of poverty and developing healthy social capital through The Factory Ministries (a local social services agency), the local school district and volunteers from a local church, “Bev” found the help and confidence to build a new future for herself and her family. Bev is filled with confidence and now has the resources needed to build her new life.