Bridging For Tomorrow focuses on building healthy relationships that foster a sense of empowerment among members of the community. We believe that all people have value and that everyone, including the poorest members of a community, have gifts and talents that can be used to create a positive change.
Our methodology of poverty alleviation is informed by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert’s book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, and by Bridging Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities by Dr. Ruby K. Payne, Philip E. Devol, and Terie Dreussi Smith. We want to move beyond providing relief to those in need, towards rehabilitation and community-led development. That is why we focus on partnership and collaboration with members of the community.
Relief is temporary aid to reduce the immediate suffering experienced by someone who is unable to help themselves due to a crisis. For example, a flooding victim who has been removed from his/her home may need help finding a safe place to stay and access to food and water.
Rehabilitation occurs when individuals are meaningfully included in the process of their own poverty alleviation. We come alongside community members and work together to identify their strengths as well as what they need most in order to succeed.
Development occurs when individuals are safe and secure enough to provide for their own needs and are then able to support others and bring positive change to their community.
Bridging For Tomorrow works with individuals from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds. When working with diverse groups, it is important to be aware that each group has its own hidden rules. We often consider the differences between different cultural or racial groups, but fail to think about them in terms of different economic groups. Poverty comes in many forms and occurs whenever individuals lack any of the following resources: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, relationships/role models, coping strategies, or knowledge of hidden rules.
The hidden rules listed below are examples of the knowledge and understanding that are taken for granted by an individual in a particular economic class, but that are necessary to survive and to succeed in that class. It is important to remember that the hidden rules that are assumed by one group are usually unknown to the members of another group. These rules guide much of our behavior, as well as the way we perceive our circumstances and the actions of others. Not understanding the hidden rules of another class is often the biggest barrier to an individual moving upward in a career or from one class to another.
Money is meant to be used, spent.
The present is most important. Decisions are made for the moment and based on feelings of survival.
Quantity is important. Did you have enough?
Education is valued and revered as abstract, but not as a reality.
Language is casual and about survival.
Survival, relationships, and entertainment
Money is meant to be managed.
The future is most important. Decisions are made against future ramifications.
Quality is important. Did you like it?
Education is crucial for climbing the success ladder and making money.
Language is formal and about negotiation.
Work and achievement
Money is meant to be conserved, invested.
Traditions and history are most important. Decisions are made partially on the basis of tradition and decorum.
Presentation is important. Was it presented well?
Education is a necessary tradition for making and maintaining connections.
Language is formal and about networking.
Financial, political and social connections
The examples in the chart above are taken from Bridges out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities
by Dr. Ruby K. Payne, Philip E. DeVol & Terie Dreussi Smith.