Bedford House, with the support of our partners, will bring together small groups of people dedicated to improving our community by “bridging” the Poverty Gap. These teams of people – from all walks of life – will directly support the Life Plans of low-income individuals and families.
Before the Bridging Teams form, participants will participate in one of two parallel adult education programs.
1. The “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’–by–World” program is for people living in poverty. They may be on Social Assistance or they may be one of Peterborough’s many “working-poor”. Participants become “Investigators” of their particular context and challenges. They develop strategies, and create a Life Plan to take them beyond the tyranny of day-to day-crises.
2. In a parallel program, middle and upper-income folks are trained to play a support role in the Investigator’s journey. In the Bridges Mentorship Training Program they come to understand how they are not there to “help or solve” the Investigator’s problems but to act as Mentors (or Allies), asking questions and connecting Investigators with personal and professional resources previously unavailable to Investigators.
3. Once folks have been trained in the programs, they come together in small, confidential support teams called Bridging Teams. The teams will meet weekly at first, and then monthly over an 18–month period. Relationships of course may continue beyond the end of the formal timeline.
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