Getting Ahead is both a workbook and an experience. It’s based on Philip DeVol’s Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by-World: Building Your Resources for a Better Life. Participants, called Investigators, work in groups to examine the impact of poverty on themselves and their communities and to explore the world through the lens of economic class. Their investigations produce information that is needed to design successful approaches to ending poverty and building sustainable communities. The Investigators create plans to build their own resources and come to the decision-making and planning tables in their communities as fellow problem-solvers with people from all classes, races, sectors, and political persuasions.
Introduction: 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 their own choices, enjoy the power that comes from solving problems and controlling their own lives, 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 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.
This educational experience is valued by Getting Ahead Investigators because it doesn’t force people into accepting the logic of, or conforming to, the system or organization; instead, it is a means by which Investigators can deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in solving community problems.
Getting Ahead is composed of 15-16 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!