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2090 Emerson Ave Alliance, NE 69301

Getting Ahead: Bridges Out of Poverty

Posted Sep 21, 2022 9:20 AM
By Patricia Jones, Alliance Community Task Force: Creating Opportunity

On Wednesday, October 5, we will be holding our fourth and final Bridges Out of Poverty workshop.

Why have we committed so strongly to the Bridges Out of Poverty programs? Quite simply, because they work. Bridges gives us tools and strategies to reduce and alleviate individual and community instability. They open us up to alternative ideas and attitudes by sharing narratives of people with different kinds of problems. We have learned to see people in poverty as resourceful and resilient, people who want a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Ruby Payne started the Bridges programs over two decades ago. She was a classroom teacher, then principal, whose initial work was with schools, sharing her experience about how to deal with children from poverty families. She studied how people were under-resourced and the hidden rules that kept them that way.

Payne formed the company aha!Process, which has published several books relating to poverty in different situations like schools and various types of jobs. She and her staff conduct workshops all over the world. Now Payne’s work empowers educators and community leaders to address issues of poverty in classrooms, communities, businesses, hospitals, churches, and social service agencies.

The point of the Bridges work is to give people the tools and knowledge bases necessary to move from survival to stability to wealth creation—at the individual, institutional, community, and policy levels.

When we held our first Bridges workshop in Alliance in June, 2021, most of us realized we had no idea what it was like to live in generational poverty. Most of the 200 people who attended had what are called “aha! moments” because of the new information they were learning, and the new way of seeing things that was being presented. Our next two workshops dealt with institutions and communities, and how they could better understand the problems created by poverty. Most didn’t realize the barriers that had been placed in the way of moving ahead.

The final program in the Bridges series explores how to work with all sectors and economic classes, with the goal of creating a steering committee to become a Bridges community. Attention is given to the types of leaders needed to advocate for policy change at the local, state, and federal levels. Rather than having speeches and power points, we will spend most of our time working in community teams, determining how we can best achieve our goals.

Bridges: Part 4 will be held at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff in the Harms Center. Jim Ott, our facilitator for the last two workshops, will again join us. The program will

start at 9:00 am, conclude at 3:00, and lunch will be included. The registration fee is $45.00, and scholarships are available. People can register through Eventbrite at Panhandle Partnership. Bridges Out of Poverty- Part 4: Policy Lens Registration, Wed, Oct 5, 2022 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite

The previous Bridges sessions are not required, but we encourage participants to take the first one online if they have not attended a Bridges training previously. (

The work done by the Bridges Out of Poverty team has made a tremendous impact on the lives of so many people, institutions, and communities. We welcome anyone to join us!