The following is from Lena Stoots, a Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World facilitator with Main Street Ministries in Houston, Texas.

At the end of each Getting Ahead class, it is obvious that every single class is unique and different, although many of the challenges and pains can be very similar. In the midst of both differences and similarities, each Getting Ahead group comes to embrace and care deeply for one another over the course of five months.

Getting Ahead investigators learn things that they share in their own words as they traverse through the many chapters and modules of Getting Ahead. They celebrate one another’s victories, and they embrace each other’s challenges. They help each other understand some of the hard concepts, and they act as accountability partners for each other, which makes moving forward just a little bit easier.

By the week before graduation, they are as giddy as high school students and can hardly be contained. It is amazing how much you can see the change in their hearts, the liveliness in their voices, and the camaraderie of the crew.

At graduation, they celebrate whom they have deemed the most challenged of the group with a roaring standing ovation, affirming that participant’s dedication for showing up well beyond their challenges that society, health, drugs, and many other things threw straight at them.

The facilitator is also blessed by the entirety of the experience, by the lessons learned, and by the growth that took place. I’m so thankful to get to learn something new every time I get to be a part of this, and I’m so thankful that Main Street Ministries is able to bring life empowerment to Houston.

Main Street Ministries, located in Houston, Texas, is a Bridges Out of Poverty community on a mission to build paths out of poverty empowered by the love of Jesus.

 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.