Bridges To Success

Bridges to Success Network

Getting Ahead Video

Getting Ahead:

The Getting Ahead Program, part of our Bridges to Success Network, facilitates learning based co-investigation by individuals and facilitators; supports individuals in stabilizing their situations; building resources, positive social support systems and human capital. Our ultimate goal is to empower people in order to improve the lives of people in poverty and help make Johnstown a sustainable community in which everyone can do well.

Participants will meet once a week for twenty weeks for two and a half to three hours each time. Each cohort will consist of eight to twelve participants. Knowledge is put into a series of mental models. Facilitators help investigators to explore solutions rather than tell participants what to do. Long-term support is provided to help investigators follow established plans.

Investigators are exploring the impact of poverty on their own community, which provides valuable information for communities looking to work toward sustainability. Through workbook study, investigators focus on building resources in areas determined to affect poverty: family life, economic development, and managing in times of change. Clients will develop a clear understanding of their individual situations along with their wider community. After graduation, clients are involved in a monthly “networking group” with other graduates. This will provide long-term accountability, support and resources.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

How Much of Yourself Do You Own:

A process of Building your Emotional Resources

How Much of Yourself Do You Own is coming to UMHS this fall!

Staying Ahead:

Partner Families – are clients that have taken and completed Getting Ahead and are actively working on building resources to reach self-sufficiency.

By listening to our client about systemic and individual barriers we are able to restructure our organization to meet the need of our clients and community.


Getting Ahead “Resources” Reference List:

Financial – Having enough income to purchase goods and services and to save or invest money. Having an educated understanding of how money works – being fiscally literate.

Emotional – Being able to choose and control emotional responses, particularly to negative situations without engaging in self-destructive behavior. This is the “state of mind” that determines the way we think, feel and behave at any given moment. This is an internal resource and shows itself through stamina, perseverance and choice. This is about interpersonal skills like teamwork, teaching others, leadership, negotiation and working with people from many backgrounds.

Formal Register – Having the vocabulary, language ability and negotiation skills to succeed in work and/or school environments.

Spiritual – Believing in Divine purpose and guidance and/or having a rich cultural connection that offers support and guidance.

Integrity and Trust – Trust is linked to two issues: predictability and safety. Can I know with some certainty that the person will do what he/she says? Can I predict with some accuracy that it will occur every time? The second part of the question is safety: Will I be safe with this person?

Physical – Having physical health and mobility.

Support Systems – Having friends, family and backup resources available to access in times of need. These are external resources.

Relationships/Role Models – Having frequent access to adults who are appropriate, who are nurturing and who do not engage in self-destructive behavior.

Motivation and Persistence – Having the energy and drive to prepare for, plan and complete projects, jobs and personal changes.

Knowledge of Hidden Rules – Knowing the unspoken cues and habits of both middle class and wealth.


Bridges Financial Management Course

  • Through Bridges Financial Management Course GA graduates will take their next step in “staying ahead” by participating in a 10 week Bridges Financial Management Course. This course meets under-resourced individuals where they are at in life and provides accessible information. Curriculum includes creating spending plans, plugging spending leaks, interest rates, credit reports and repair, borrowing, saving, avoiding financial predators, and wisely utilizing the Earned Income Credit.
  • Unique to this is the utilization of mentors. Upon completion, “investors” will know a banker and trust a banker as we are partnering with a local financial institution to provide mentors, banking opportunities and a $150 savings incentive.
  • The goal is for graduates to demonstrate increased knowledge in such key areas as credit scores and how to improve them, debt and how to reduce it, how to recognize and avoid financial predators, personal organization (paperwork), pros and cons of using student loans, planning the use of EITC (earned income credit) tax refunds, and critical areas of asset development like owning versus renting a home. Financial materials and organizational kits for paperwork will be provided at no cost.

This program is proudly funded by Lee Initiatives, Inc.