Like my colleague and coauthor Phil DeVol, I am grateful to Dr. Ruby Payne for the opportunity to co-write Bridges Out of Poverty. For 22+ years, this has led to new paths in engaging those who use this work.

Bridges holds a payoff for businesses and systems, but I am especially grateful for how this understanding changes and stabilizes lives. I am touched by how Bridges has impacted my own relationships, developing strong social capital for myself and others every day. There is a joy and a richness brought by Bridges, which I believe has a life of its own.

I am especially thankful for the “Bridges people”—those at all levels who have used Bridges so effectively. I want to mention and honor the Getting Ahead in A Just-Gettin’-By World graduates who are reaching out to the people and communities around them. This is life-changing work filled with challenges and joy. What could be better?

On a recent Sunday, I was invited to an event and stood next to my neighbors in support of a child. The event included music, and as the following was sung, I realized how perfectly it describes the outcome of Bridges and what we see in those who have championed Bridges and Getting Ahead. I am grateful to each of you who live the spirit of Bridges.

“I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion.
I’ve been so loved, that I’ll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I’ll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I’ll be there to care and follow through.”

“I Then Shall Live,” v. 2, Phelps/Gaither, “Finlandia”