Getting Ahead Programs

GA is 5 years old in Marinette, WI

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Irene Frechette 5 years ago.

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    Irene Frechette

    Look how far you can come in just five years!
    Jeanne Harper reports that in Marinette, Wisconsin, the first Getting Ahead Class was started by her local Conference with a “beta test” grant from Goodwill Industries of Northern Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula to cover Round 1 and Round 2 expenses.In time, they wrote another grant to the local Caterpillar Foundation by presenting the need, objectives and budget to the employees (200+) and they gave their final approval for funding the next Round 3 of Getting Ahead.
    The results of the three Rounds were presented to their local Tri-County Area United Way and they were amazed by the results, thus funded Round 4.
    Once the local United Way was involved, other sponsors began asking to be a part of the program and desired to become trained GA Facilitators. So the community sponsors joined the SVdP St Joseph Conference to create the “Building Bridges to a Brighter Tomorrow” (BBBT) steering committee. Round 5 and part of Round 6 is currently being funded by a Systemic Change Grant from National SSVdP. This grant also provides a savings account with $25.00 per class attended – to be granted to their GA Graduates upon graduation June 1st.
    BBBT is currently setting up interviews with seven newly referred GA Candidates. Referrals are starting to come in from a variety of local agencies. The Drug Court Judge, has asked about Getting Ahead when Getting Out program. BBBT will soon be in discussion about this possibility. Also of interest is “R Rules” for local high school students, which is a Getting Ahead type program for students.
    The more GA graduates we have, the more programs BBBT will be able to provide for their community.
    The BBBT board is currently 51% made up of individuals that experienced poverty, Getting Ahead Investigators, Graduates or friends in need whom St. Joseph Conference has served. This summer, monthly enhancement programs for graduates and potential candidates will be added. We have current mentors for budgeting and are set to discuss with a local agency the possibility of using the GA Graduates as mentors for families in poverty.
    The current Getting Ahead Investigators and GA Graduates will be developing the program of presentations by local “Getting Ahead” resources.The Getting Ahead Program is now facilitated by a GA Graduate from Round 1, Carla Gill, along with other trained facilitators from local community sponsors. Currently two classes are in session (one during day and one at night).
    Space is freely provided at the local Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) and the GA Investigators love being able to say they are taking a class at the “local college.” A number of the graduates have continued at NWTC or received their GED/HSED or attending other colleges or area training programs. Local community churches and organizations are providing the lunches and evening meal for the two classes. Local funeral homes are providing the gas card incentives.
    Because this is a “community” project the community continues to provide financial support. BBBT just hired a contract worker for 20 hours a week for one year with a (renewable) $15,000 United Way Grant. Our plan is for our GA Coordinator to continue to write more community grants to fund each Round’s expenses, as well as pay the GA Coordinator and the GA Graduate Faciitator(s). It is their hope to develop and train more of the GA Graduates into GA Facilitators.
    BBBT, the steering committee, voted to pay only Getting Ahead Graduates who complete the Facilitator training program offered by SSVdP National. At this time, other GA Facilitators are professional volunteers from local community sponsors.
    Between Rounds 3 and 5, BBBT submitted a grant, upon request, to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), while the amount requested was not received, CCHD offered BBBT a training $15,000 grant which will help connect BBBT with policy changing “International Worker Justice” of Chicago. IWJ will come to Marinette to train the current board, Getting Ahead Graduates and community sponsors on how to make policy changes to change the system barriers for the benefit of people in need (Voice of the Poor advocacy work).
    This fall and winter, BBBT is planning to present three county wide programs using the Bridges Out of Poverty DVD program, which is available from our SSVdP National office. Depending on funding, we would like to bring in Aha Process presenters, Phil De Vol and Jodi Pfarr, to further enhance community involvement and poverty awareness.

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