Getting Ahead Programs

Getting Started Question

This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Tom Pelger 3 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #580

    Tom Pelger
    Participant

    My name is Tom Gonzalez and I am one of the Getting Ahead Facilitators you helped train in Los Angeles (Tacoma-Pierce County Council). Our Council is starting to coordinate our first session and I have a few questions that I hope you can answer:

    1. In the “Readiness Checklist for Planning & Initial Education” that is online at the SVdP National website, a “6 hr program: Overview of our direction, Bridges Out of Poverty constructs (DVDs)” is mentioned. Is there a PowerPoint Presentation for this 6hr program? Was this the 1st day that we did in Los Angeles?

    Attached are two examples of the agenda we have used, one a day long (6+ hr) program, one a 2-evening program. Basically, they both include 1-2 Powerpoint presentations, along with most of the Bridges DVDs (we don’t use the Family Structure; I know another council that uses it, but doesn’t use the Research Continuum). More recently, we’ve tended to adapt the Powerpoint presentation to the audience – – but it is basically Why Systemic Change, What is It, and what is our local program (Getting Ahead plus mentoring at this stage) and how can they get involved and support it. I’ve attached a copy of the most recent presentation that combined the opening and closing presentations used previously.

    2. What about transporting clients to the weekly sessions? Is it advisable, feasible, liability too great?

    While we have provided Getting Ahead investigators single ride bus passes if they request it (in addition to their $25 Kroger card stipend), when it comes to our evening class that has ended around 9pm, when buses only come once an hour and everyone needs at least one connection, the facilitators have provided rides at least partially home (e.g. to the bus transfer station, to a public place not far from their home). I realize there are risks, but we’ve trusted in the Holy Spirit to cover us.

    3. Is it okay to use the PowerPoint Presentations that are in the SVdP National Website and just change the names to our Council?

    Absolutely. They should be looked upon as simply a base on which to start. Personalize with your local council name, tweak sequence, delete or add as you gain experience. You know your audience best. I don’t think I’ve yet used any presentation identically twice. You are equally free to edit whatever you like about our local Powerpoint.

    By the way, you and others should register and use the Communities of Practice web forum. I plan to copy this dialogue there. That way you not only get my opinion / experience but the potential of multiple experiences from councils around the country

    http://svdpspecialworks.net/ http://svdpspecialworks.net/groups/getting-ahead-programs/

    Tom Gonzalez, Vice-President
    Society of St. Vincent de Paul
    Tacoma-Pierce County Council
    253 851-6397
    253 509-4197 cell

  • #581

    Bill Meath
    Participant

    We took the Power Point presentation and imbedded (actually linked) the videos into it so we wouldn’t have to change discs etc. We added slides with the discussion ?’s on them etc. Added our logo and name etc. That was for our first Bridges seminar. Tweaking it again for the 2nd. Adding job descriptions for mentor, facilitator etc. roles. We will add the job descriptions to the handout folders also.

  • #582

    Tom Pelger
    Participant

    Great ideas, Bill. Can you upload a copy of your powerpoint when you’ve finished your latest changes?

  • #585

    Irene Frechette
    Moderator

    Bill did you upload those documents

  • #586

    Bill Meath
    Participant

    Irene, sorry it took awhile to upload the docs. They are in the documents section now. We invite and welcome constructive criticisms.

  • #588

    Tom Pelger
    Participant

    Bill, congrats on sharing with the GA community. Nice work on your local materials. God bless,

    Tom Pelger

  • #599

    Irene Frechette
    Moderator

    This is Tom Gonzalez again from the Tacoma-Pierce County Council. We were thinking of having a month of 2 sessions per week. In your experience, how much time do investigators need to prepare for each meeting? Does having sessions on Tuesday and then Thursday give investigators enough time to do what is required in their workbooks?

  • #600

    Irene Frechette
    Moderator

    Tom Pelger offers the following advise to Tom Ganzalez’ additional questions.
    In our experience, at least with the investigators we’ve had in our first two classes, counting on them to be able to do homework between sessions is a real stretch. When we tried that, we found we had to take the time anyway in the class for the exercise, as most had not done the work. The instability of poverty with no time off from work, long commutes to jobs by bus and walking, sick children, kids in trouble at school, etc etc leave very little time for extra work and quiet thinking time outside of class. Our investigators demographic is urban black, generational poverty, single parents. Jeanne Harper talked of out of class work in her webinar but her setting (rural, white, more situational poverty – my impression) may provide more stability than our experience.

    The one real homework exercise we tried with our second class was the community assessment. We made that a joint exercise between investigators and their mentors (mentors in support role; with goal of relationship building also). We made the assignment in conjunction with the Planning Backward exercise (pp 115-116), and gave them 4 weeks to do the work, before their verbal reports at a session that included their mentors. Even with 4 weeks, and with the opportunity for help of their mentors, several struggled to do the work.

    That is a long answer to your question. If your group is able to meet twice a week, I wouldn’t count on any homework….plan on all exercises and discussion occurring in class. Be prepared for it taking longer than you think. If your investigators’ stability is better than ours, any work they are able to do outside of class will be a bonus. Remember though that unless you are willing to leave someone behind, you can only go as fast as your slowest investigators.

  • #601

    Irene Frechette
    Moderator

    And Jeanne Harper offered this in addition to Tom Pelger’s answers
    First, Tom G — thanks for the Question!!
    Getting Ahead Facilitator book – speaks of doing all the assignments in class — which we did in the first couple of sessions in our first class. From then on usually module II — the group has decided which exercises they COULD or wanted to or needed to do (because it would take more thought than they can do in class) OUTSIDE of class.

    We also met the needs of the variety of investigators during the last five years….meaning – in some cases, they created partners within the group to work on their assignment outside of class TOGETHER — or we met with them for 1/2 hour after our regular sessions to review and review the assignment instructions — once they did one or two of each exercise – they were able to do the rest themselves. Also they could ask their home visitors/mentors to work with them on some of the assignments — especially the Community assessment and Resources.
    Twice a week is good for a couple of weeks — to get through Module 1 to 4 — but then slowing it down seems a need for most of our investigators. The Investigators design when we meet and they talk about this together.

    Personally, if you are doing all the homework in class, this may work just fine – meeting twice a week, but then no or limited homework. That is a big commitment of time in one week.
    Blessings on your work.
    Jeanne

  • #620

    Bill Meath
    Participant

    Hello all,

    Sooo, we are having difficulties in getting food service personnel for our Getting Ahead workshops starting in September 2016. We came up with a solution to collaborate with the meal team for the Monday Night Dinner ministry where they provide weekly dinners to those in poverty. They would just feed our group also. We would then conduct the workshops after the dinner. My question is how the Getting Ahead investigators would be influenced / react to participating in the dinners provided to other poverty stricken people at the Monday Night dinners? What about confidentiality? We, of course would be meeting in another room after the dinners and we could eat in a separate room most nights also. Feedback…???

    My next question is when do those programs up and running successfully begin ‘prospecting’ for investigators for the Getting Ahead workshops i.e how long before the first session?

    Thank you and God bless,

    Bill Meath

  • #621

    Tom Pelger
    Participant

    Our mentors bring the meals for 7 of the 18 meals. For other meals, we’ve been able to get church groups (e.g. a SVdP conference or other churches) to bring meals. Pizza Ranch donated one meal. Your solution is not ideal, but we must work with the circumstances. I’d strongly push for a separate room. Meal time builds relationships, not only with mentors and those who brought the meal, but each other.

    On the 2nd question, we are doing low key prospecting year round as our home visit teams will leave a brochure on the program behind with someone who called for immediate needs aid and who they think might be a candidate. Individuals can call our Helpline and express interest in the program year round, but we only start calling them back for visits to explain the program and what it entails about 6-8 weeks before the start as the instability of poverty makes it difficult to really commit too much earlier than that.

    Tom Pelger, Peoria CTGA program

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