There comes a time in the lifecycle of every Bridges community when a bigger voice is needed to get the word out to garner additional community support.  aha! Process recently partnered with Bridges and community leaders in Dubuque, IA in a region-wide conference aimed at expanding the impact of Bridges work in that area.  Over 140 people participated in the two-day event representing all sectors of the community.  Many Getting Ahead graduates were on hand to share stories of how they have turned their lives around with the support of Bridges based programs.  Other participants included city officials, economic development leaders, social services agencies, educators and healthcare providers.

Local event organizer and long-time aha! Process consultant, Jim Ott shared his thoughts on the event, “I’m thrilled to see the level of interest throughout the community in expanding our poverty-reduction efforts.  We have achieved so much already, but there is still a long way to go.  The conference provided a terrific opportunity to inform more people about Bridges constructs and how they can be further applied across different sectors of the community.  There is clearly a desire to expand the initiative and many organizations looking to partner to support the overall economic development of Dubuque.”

The Upper Midwest Bridges Conference kicked-off with a reception and keynote delivered by Dr. Ruby Payne.  Participants were also able to hear from Bridges Out of Poverty co-authors Phil DeVol and Terie Dreussi Smith who shared numerous examples of how the Bridges constructs have been applied successfully in other communities.  Mike Saccocio, Executive Director of City Mission, Schenectady, NY gave an inspiring account of the impact that Bridges has made in that city, and event organizers Jim Ott and Ermina Soler led discussions on where and how Bridges efforts could be expanded in Dubuque.

A Bridges Regional Summit is a great way to gather current and prospective program participants to put a spotlight on the work you do and its importance to your community.   If you believe your community could benefit from a regional summit, the aha! Process team can help. Contact Lynn Jackson at to learn more.