What is Getting Ahead?
Getting Ahead is both a workbook and an experience. It’s based on Philip DeVol’s “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World: Building Your Resources for a Better Life”. Participants, called Investigators, work in groups to examine the impact of poverty on themselves and their communities and to explore the world through the lens of economic environments.
I lived in poverty for years after my divorce. I was a single parent through all my years pursuing my education. I often felt completely alone and overwhelmed by the difficult decisions which needed to be made on a daily basis. A group like this would have been an incredible resource and source of support.
I learned how those years of poverty are still affecting me today. This group has been a blessing and a great learning experience. It will help me in many ways both personally and professionally.
~Getting Ahead Graduate
What does a Getting Ahead group look like?
Up to 12 investigators, a facilitator and a co-facilitator meet weekly for 15 to 20 weeks. The experience leads everyone to examine a mental model of what it’s like now. It defines the “Tyranny of the Moment” as the need to act overwhelms any willingness people have to learn and provides groups support to overcome those daily challenges. It leads people to explore the reasons for current challenges and develop their own theory of change. There is no lecturing, no preaching, and no one gives advice. People learn the most important lessons in relationship with others who share similar stories. While many activities are done together, each person makes his/her own decisions and develops a future story plan.
When and where does Getting Ahead happen?
A Getting Ahead group will form in any area of the county where a trained facilitator and co-facilitator recruit investigators and offer the experience. As a group forms, the investigators and facilitators determine when and where the group will meet on a weekly basis.
Our next Getting Ahead group launch is in October in Hornell. For more information, please contact Turning Point Director Lynda Lowin at LLowin@dor.org, 607-776-8085 x2217.
What do people do when they graduate from Getting Ahead?
Graduates invite family and friends to a celebratory graduation event and share their plan to create a new future story. Graduates are offered continued community involvement and support.
DeVol, P. E., Payne, R. K., & Dreussi-Smith, T. (2006). Bridges out of poverty: Strategies for professionals and communities workbook. Highlands, TX: aha! Process.