Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World

Getting Ahead Graduates!


Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by-World was written for people in poverty. It provides a way to examine the impact that poverty has on individuals, families, and their communities.  The aim is to provide a safe, agenda-free learning environment where adults can reflect on and examine their lives, investigate new information that is relevant to them, assess their own resources, make plans for their own future stories, offer ideas for building a prosperous community, and choose a team to help them fulfill their dreams.

How Getting Ahead is delivered: Imagine 12 – 15 people sitting around a kitchen table. One of them is a Facilitator; the others are Investigators. The Facilitator guides the process; the Investigators do the work of exploring, examining, and processing the information. The Facilitator is not directive, does not make suggestions or offer solutions or analysis, and never makes the argument for change for someone else. The Facilitator does encourage and support the individuals and the group in their work.

Along the way the Investigators will work through modules on the theory of change for getting out of poverty,  research on the causes of poverty, the hidden rules of economic class, the definition of poverty, the resources that are needed for a high quality of life, stages of change, and an investigation into how to develop resources.
Getting Ahead is composed of 20 sessions, each two and a half hours long.  Investigators are paid because of the value of the information they provide Getting Ahead sponsors and community planning groups. This work is based on the premise that people in poverty are problem solvers!

NW Circles™ Initiative provides childcare, food or snacks, supplies, Getting Ahead workbooks and transportation support if necessary.

Getting Ahead Sessions: The first session begins with the Investigators creating a mental model of what poverty is like in the community, something they know a great deal about. This forms the basis of the following investigations into housing, health issues, jobs, and conditions in the community. There are two story lines in Getting Ahead: One is the collective story of all people in poverty, and the other is the individual’s story.

Investigators make a mental model about poverty in general, and then they make one about their own situation. The pattern continues as the Investigators do a self-assessment of their resources and then do an assessment of the community. At the end of Getting Ahead, the Investigators make a detailed personal plan for building resources and a collective plan for how to create a prosperous community.

Investigators will explore and analyze the themes of their lives, assess their own resources, build their future stories, make their own choices, enjoy the power that comes from solving problems and controlling their own lives, make concrete plans for economic stability, and become skillful at using the hidden rules of class to build resources.  

What Investigators have to say about  Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World:

  • “I know I am not going to get out of poverty unless I do it myself”
  • “I learned about how people talk and present themselves and the difference in the way different classes value money, family and friends”
  • “I learned to talk and not be quiet, and to step up for myself”
  • “I will now build a better future for my child”