Pictured are Katrina Wruble and Melissa Curtis presenting to Twyla Smith of Southwest Community Action Agency for distribution to the next Edwardsburg Getting Ahead class. Financial support is appreciated and confirms that poverty is a community responsibility.

Archived Story

First ‘Bridges’ class graduates

Published 5:09pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

The first Edwardsburg Getting Ahead class of the Bridges Out of Poverty program graduated Feb. 9.
Twelve graduates completed a 15-week course based on curriculum by author Dr. Ruby Payne’s poverty research.
Payne did her undergraduate work at Goshen, Ind., College. She earned a master’s degree from Western Michigan University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from Loyola University in Chicago.
Hope United Methodist Church’s class was led by two trained facilitators.
The class included two Hope congregation volunteers each week.
The program’s mission statement says: “Bridges Out of Poverty will transform Cass County into a prosperous community in which individuals move from generational and situational poverty to self-sufficiency, enhancing the quality of life for everyone and creating a model for other communities.”
The average number of people per week involved to make the class happen is 30 (included class participants, child care providers, dinner providers, transportation and free tutoring).
The curriculum assists individuals with goal-setting.
Hope UMC provided child care and transportation, if needed.
The class volunteered with two service projects — collecting food and toys for the annual Stuff-a-Bus project Dec. 2-3, 2011; and worked a pancake breakfast at the church Jan. 15 to earn funds for the program.
Follow-up continues with mentors, tutoring and monthly network meetings with the graduates.
The next Getting Ahead class at Hope will be announced.
For more information, Google Bridges Out of Poverty or call Hope United Methodist Church at (269) 663-5321 ext. 5.

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