Getting Ahead Graduates Inspire Human Services Professionals

Last week, Community Action Planning Council was joined by staff members from Northern Regional Center for Independent Living (NRCIL), Watertown Urban Mission and the Volunteer Transportation Center for a “Bridges out of Poverty” workshop.  The group of 110 professionals explored the Bridges material to include mental models of economic class, causes of poverty, hidden rules, language, household dynamics and tips for applying Bridges concepts.

The high point of the day was a panel discussion featuring graduates from “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’-By World,” a workshop for individuals who lack resources.  Tammy, Community Action’s Getting Ahead facilitator, introduced the panel and invited them to talk about the Getting Ahead experience.

Pictured, from left: Getting Ahead graduates Michael, Karen, Sue, Orales and J.J. and Getting Ahead facilitator Tammy.

Michael announced that he recently gained sustainable wage employment with the City of Watertown.  He continues to work on building a positive credit history and is inching closer to his future story of buying a house.  Karen gave a passionate testimonial about the effectiveness of Head Start and shared that she plans to volunteer in Miss Amy’s classroom.  Sue regaled the group with her experience participating in the Race against Poverty, during which she conquered her fear and climbed a rock wall.  Orales credited Getting Ahead with helping him to overcome depression and make plans for the future.  Since graduation, he has started a savings account and is working on getting his driver’s license.  J.J. told the audience that he was painfully shy before being part of Getting Ahead – a forum where he gained a strong support system and the courage to hone his public speaking skills.  He has since enrolled in Toastmasters and is well on his way to becoming a master public speaker.

The graduates were extremely effective helping workshop participants to understand what Getting Ahead is all about … and bravely sharing their personal stories.  At the conclusion of their comments, the audience leaped to its feet, offering a hearty standing ovation and cheers of congratulations!

The next Getting Ahead workshop begins on November 7.  To learn more about Getting Ahead, check out the flyer or call 315.782.4900, extension 250.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” –Mark Twain