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Bridges out of Poverty

Updated on October 16, 2013

Fixing the Poverty Problem is not an Easy Task

The book itself stands out as a "solution" to the problem of poverty in the USA, or any society whose victims' collective lack of resources causes a downhill spiral in an entire community and/or country. Ruby Payne, Phillip DeVol and Terie Dreussi-Smith have compiled a work that informs, challenges and motivates a community to take a fresh new look at poverty using a series of teachings on "Hidden Rules of Economic Class," the "problems solving" techniques used on a daily basis of a person trapped in poverty and language barriers between poverty, middle-class and wealth.

Train the Community in a Poverty Awareness Workshop

Some of the training sessions include mock budgets where participants are given a limited number of tokens representing net monthly income, and instructed to spread the limited amount over the daily, weekly and monthly survival necessities in our society. In the end the amount given only works if you forget personal transportation, budget for only 2 meals a day with no snacks, and do without insurance. Balancing necessities is a way of life for individuals and families in poverty.

Ruby Payne is Brilliant in her Approach

Her approach is training workshops for front line workers/volunteers in entitlement programs, service agencies, charity organization, education, industry and community civic groups. Coming together in an all day workshop and looking at the causes of poverty, the nature of the individuals and families living in poverty and solutions that can result from collaboration of agencies and many leadership and workers in the communities involved.

Phillip DeVol Wrote and Revised "Getting Ahead"

Our community invited Phillip DeVol to do a presentation workshop and had nearly 100 representatives from various organizations attend. As a result we formed a Bridges out of Poverty Steering Committee for our county, and now have gone further to explore"Getting Ahead, in a Just Gettin'-By World" workshops for individuals in generational or situational poverty.

We have individuals trained to facilitate the program, and by participating in events in surrounding communities we've learned that participants in the Getting Ahead program are more than willing to share their creative ideas for stepping out of poverty and designing their own, "Future Story," after completing the workshops.

Individuals Living in Poverty Participate in the Solution

In these workshops they are given the same information that their case managers, agency front-line workers and faith-based organizations are given in Bridges out of Poverty workshops. In Getting Ahead not only do the participants complete a Self-Assessment, and Community Assessment, but they also explore the causes of poverty from their perspective via research of the history of minimum wage, the creation of government programs, the disparity between wages of entry level workers and CEO's of our nation's corporations and organizations.

The participants are called investigators and are given an cash incentive for attending the 16 workshops. They come away empowered and ready to participate in the Bridges out of Poverty initiative in their community. There is a graduation ceremony where they are able to present what they have learned to the supporters who have sponsored the workshop. Now the work begins in the community.

A genius plan, and a must read. Bridges out of Poverty is a must for any struggling community.

Here are several books on the topic to help your community get started. A locally owned bank in our community started the initiative after an employee challenge to take a harder look at solutions to poverty. Push for this collaboration in your community. People will volunteer their time, pay to get the training, and be willing to donate financially to such an initiative.

Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-By World: Building Your Resources for a Better Life
Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-By World: Building Your Resources for a Better Life

There is a newer version of this workbook coming to AMAZON soon.


Several videos on YouTube highlight the Bridges out of Poverty concepts and the Getting Ahead graduates' presentations.

The metal building in the back ground became the storehouse for donated items.
The metal building in the back ground became the storehouse for donated items.

Does your community need Bridges out of Poverty? A photo below is from situational poverty in Waveland, Mississippi. The temporary trailer park set up beside a destroyed church building.

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Do you take an active role in ridding your community of poverty? Have you heard of Bridges out of Poverty? Does this book review challenge you to at least look into what role you can play?


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