Classes begin Oct. 24
— Bridges Summit County, a collaborative initiative led by United Way of Summit County, will begin its next sessions of “Getting Ahead” classes on Oct. 24. The classes, which meet twice a week at sites across Summit County and can accommodate up to 15 students each, provide skills and resources to people striving to escape generational poverty.
Bridges Summit County works within the local community to build support for low-income families. Bridges takes a two-pronged approach, offering community workshops that engage local organizations and corporate groups in the effort to end poverty in Akron, and “Getting Ahead” classes that provide assistance to families and individuals working toward financial independence.
The initiative, which received a $437,161 grant to expand “Getting Ahead” in July, is part of United Way’s redoubled efforts to create measurable, lasting change through strategic investment in Education, Income and Health.
The 16-week “Getting Ahead” curriculum involves rigorous work done in a safe learning environment. With the support of an experienced facilitator, participants examine their own life experiences and develop awareness of community-wide issues that perpetuate poverty. By the time they complete the course, participants develop a detailed personal plan for achieving financial stability and a collective plan for how to create a more prosperous community.
Graduates also receive a $200 stipend and the benefit of a caring support network. Transportation assistance is available for those who wish to participate in the program.
Already, Bridges Summit County has had a profound effect on the lives of its participants. More than 750 participants have graduated from “Getting Ahead” classes. On average, graduates have lower unemployment rates, work more hours per week and earn significantly higher incomes.
With 42.5 percent of Akron children living in poverty, initiatives like Bridges Summit County are crucial to improving the lives of families in the local community.
For more information on Bridges Summit County, or to register for an upcoming “Getting Ahead” session, visit uwsummit.org/bridges.