Getting Ahead Programs

Looking for advise

This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Bill Meath 4 years, 7 months ago.

  • Author
  • #495

    Irene Frechette

    St. William, a conference in our council, has started a program which they call Project Turn the Corner. They are in the process of selecting two families which they will try to move from poverty to sustainability. We are in the process of deciding whether or not to do the same sort of thing. I’m pretty sure our conference will approve the idea and Deacon Mike Lyman from St. William will come and tell us about what they have done so far. They applied and received a $5000 grant from Friends of the poor and we will do that in May. In the meantime, do you know of a conference which is doing this kind of program and could tell us how it has worked and pitfalls to avoid. Thanks.

    Tom Backer
    St. Barbara Conference
    Council of Northern Kentucky

  • #500

    Raymond Pawlicki

    We started with a homeless former felon. He is unemployable in Dade City FL. I tried to teach him how to be a bee keeper. He was not mentally capable. Next we received a FoP grant and started with two families that eventually packed up and moved back up North. We then selected two families and have had success with one and held our own with the second.
    My advice is to pick your initial family from situational poverty. Don’t pick a homeless former felon for your first try.
    Ray Pawlicki
    St Rita’s Conference

  • #502

    Irene Frechette

    I am hoping that the readers of this blog are aware of the Getting Ahead Program and its constructs. To walk with a families out of poverty, takes more than just money. The families need someone to walk with them and help them discover the hidden rules of the society that they live in. I would encourage all Vincentians to use the Getting Ahead Program with their new neighbors even if it is just one or two families. Their is so much to learn and having someone work with you as you work through the issues of life is the way to succeed.

  • #504

    Tom Pelger

    Fully agree. We are now on our 2nd Getting Ahead class, with 11 investigators and are fully committed to matching each investigator / graduate with a 2-person mentor team. They graduate the class fired up, motivated, with a plan to get ahead and realize their future story, but are still living in a very unstable environment with a tough road ahead. Many of the people they count on to survive in poverty won’t be rooting for them to get ahead / get out of poverty. The friendship and support of mentors is key. One of our new mentors wrote the following which appeared in the letters to the editor in response to a Sunday front page feature story on our program:

    Thanks to the Journal Star for its outstanding front-page article on Sunday, Jan. 10, “Finding a way out of poverty,” about the Coming Together to Get Ahead mentoring program and its first graduating class.
    When we get bombarded with all the terrible news that surrounds us — violence, terrorism, crime — it is easy to become cynical. When we are reminded of our ability to lift each other up and help each other, like this article did, it restores our faith in the basic goodness of all people and their awesome potential to reflect God’s love and joy. The greatest gift God has given us is each other and the tremendous ability to “mentor” each other. This program and the article about it should remind all of us that no matter our differences in race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic class or political bias, there is nothing we can’t do or accomplish together. The glass is more than half full in Peoria because of programs like this.
    Deacon Tom Mueller

  • #527

    Bill Meath

    Has anyone developed volunteer job descriptions / roles /responsibilities etc for the various roles within the Bridges constructs? By this I mean mentors, food service personnel, child care and general support roles. We are looking for formal job descriptions for inclusion in our Bridges Training seminars to allow for more informed discernment. If so could you share?

  • #528

    Tom Pelger

    Bill, we haven’t developed formal job descriptions for our volunteer roles. You have access to our Dropbox folders. The mentor role has the most comprehensive documentation. The next most active role is the person who coordinates all the meals prior to Getting Ahead sessions – I could put you in touch with him. We have someone on communications (newsletter). Others are performed by small teams (e.g. planning our post graduation – Learning Together events; organizing the logistics around Bridges or mentor training; etc).

  • #529

    Bill Meath

    The dropbox was the first place I went to Tom…hehe. A member of our planning team attended a 2 day seminar focused on managing volunteers, i.e roles, expectations etc. Apparently, from what she learned at the seminar, best practices would include formal job descriptions. We will develop that and I will share them. Also, just an FYI, we have a website Take a look and tell me what you think. You can get to our facebook page from there also. Blessings Tom….

  • #532

    Ralph Middlecamp

    You may have seen this recently book as it is getting a lot of publicity – Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

    It just came out and our Poverty Awareness Team is going to do a book discussion group on it.
    I am half done and it tells the story of the people we serve very well. It reads it a bit like a novel. Certainly the book gives a background to generational poverty and the hurdles faced. The book also does a fair and balance look at the landlords who are trying but often have limited options.

    This may be a good way to start discussion in the community. The situation in Milwaukee described in the book reflects that of a very troubled city which is worse than many of our communities but the similarities are everywhere.
    Ralph Middlecamp

  • #645

    Bill Meath

    Hi folks,
    We are starting our 1st Getting Ahead series in about 2 weeks. I’ve looked all over for a list of needs for the investigators as well as the facilitators i.e backpacks, workbooks/manuals, pens / pencils, flip charts etc. I thought I saw something somewhere 1 year ago when preparing a preliminary budget. Does anyone have a list of Getting Ahead supplies necessary for efficient and effective workshops?

    Bill Meath
    Hope Takes Action

  • #647

    Tom Mulloy

    Hey Bill,

    Others should chime in, but I’ll say there’s a planning checklist on the Systemic Change page of the national website (in the folder named ‘Facilitator aids’):

    You’ve probably done a lot of this already, but some of it may be helpful.

    I’ve pasted it below as well.

    All the best,

    Planning Checklist for Getting Ahead
    • Train co-facilitators

    • Identify target audience for GA classes (from home visits, community referrals, junior college students…)

    • Identify facility
    o Neutral site like church, library, community center
    o Convenient for participants
    o Wall space for mental models
    o Round tables
    o Separate room for child care
    o Area for food storage / prep

    • Organize rotation of churches / groups to provide meals

    • Organize baby sitters & activities for children

    • Order participant & facilitator guides

    • Acquire participant & program supplies
    o For the room: flip chart pads & markers, masking tape, pens & pencils
    o For investigators: carry bag with journal / notebook, drawing paper, portfolio, inexpensive calculator, calendar /appointment book, pens / pencils markers. Also additional personal care items.

    • Decide stipend amount & how it will be paid (gas card, store card, bus pass…)

    • Determine how program will be funded (sponsoring conference, grant, community partners)

    • Determine if program will be offered once or twice a week and at what day & time (ideally in conjunction with each class’ participants)

    • In conjunction with Community Resources Collaboration team, determine how partners will be involved (funding, participant referrals, graduate support…)

  • #658

    Bill Meath

    Does anyone have a ‘media release’ form used for permission to publish photos and vidoes etc.? The form would be signed by GA participants, mentors and program support personnel for release to various mediums for publication.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.