LACONIA — Granite United Way is presenting a workshop designed to assist social service organizations, law enforcement agencies, health care providers and agencies and private employers deal with the challenges facing those members of the community living in poverty on Wednesday, January 14 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Beane Conference Center on Blueberry Lane.
The facilitator of the workshop, Prudence Pease of Tunbridge, Vermont, a mother of eight children who spent 18 years on the welfare rolls before becoming a judicial officer, said that the program is based on "Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities," the collaborative effort of Dr. Ruby Payne, Philip DeVol and Terie Dreussi.
Pease explained that program explores the culture of poverty, or what she called "the hidden rules" that mark the behavior and guide the choices of those whose lack of resources focuses their attention and energies on meeting immediate needs for food and shelter day-by-day. She stressed that the poor have "a different way of understanding."
The first step toward increasing the resources and improving the outcomes of the poor, she said, is to understand "why they make the choices they make."
What Pease called the "Bridges" program traces poverty to personal behaviors, community conditions, exploitation and political structures and prescribes an approach employing individual, community and institutional resources to address it. Emphasizing that poverty is "the lack of resources," not simply the lack of money, Pease said that the program underlines the development of nine resources, both individual and social, in moving people along the continuum from the instability of poverty to the stability of self-sufficiency.
"Bridges changes the lives of people and communities," Pease said.
The fee for the workshop is $25, which includes a copy of "Bridges Out of Poverty," a workbook and lunch.
The workshop is a part of Granite United Way's Financial Stability Partnership initiative, the stated goal of which is to reduce poverty in Belknap County by 20 percent by 2020.
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