Map of Wichita ZIP codesBridgesICT has held its first public workshop in Wichita, Kansas. Others will follow in 2024. Three Bridges Out of Poverty certified trainers co-presented together. The same three will be offering the workshop on a bimonthly basis. They will also be presenting the Bridges workshops to agencies and organizations around the area that make the request. These are both the Bridges Out of Poverty: Individual Lens workshops and the Bridges Out of Poverty: Institutional Lens workshops. As Ruby Payne says, “You can’t change a community without changing the institutions.”

Meetings that once only involved the planning committee are now morphing into including the steering committee and other committees to support the “pillars” of Bridges workshops, Getting Ahead classes, and Staying Ahead resources.

Weekly, there are multiple meetings with representatives from agencies and organizations to discuss with them BridgesICT and the Bridges Out of Poverty model.

Also happening is an effort to connect with banking institutions. Why is that important? Because of the Community Reinvestment Act. Click here if you are not familiar with this. Banks can also be an option for funding for Bridges Out of Poverty initiatives.

In fall 2023, there were four Getting Ahead classes in the city; they were offered by three different organizations. This spring, there are three Getting Ahead classes being held. While there is excitement around all of the classes, the one that brings big smiles is the class being held for parents at an elementary school. Great things can happen when a principal and social worker say Yes! to these resources for their students and parents. By fall 2024, there should be opportunities for at least seven Getting Ahead classes in Wichita.

And what about Staying Ahead resources? A committee has been formed to address Staying Ahead for Getting Ahead graduates. Amazing conversations are happening with agencies and organizations wanting to be collaborative in building a resource bank.