The National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the entire “Vincentian Family” has adopted the motto, “End Poverty Through Systemic Change.” Here in Rhode Island, we fully endorse that goal, and know that education about poverty is a key element in achieving it. Using the “Bridges Out of Poverty” paradigm pioneered by Dr. Ruby Payne and developed by aha! Process, we provide “Understanding Poverty” seminars for members of the Society, social service partners, schools, churches, and the general public. We also organize “Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World” workshops for our motivated friends struggling to escape generational poverty. We also conduct poverty simulations for youth and other groups.


Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World

We are now actively seeking partner organizations to sponsor Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World workshops. Participants – known as “investigators” – should be persons currently living in poverty, motivated to change the life-structures that are holding them back and must commit to participate in a 16-week learning program.

The Getting Ahead curriculum:

  • Involves rigorous work done in a safe learning environment with the support of an experienced facilitator and co-facilitator.
  • Enables participants, called “investigators,” to examine their own experience of poverty as well as explore issues in the community that impact poverty − banking, housing, jobs, transportation − providing critical information the community can use to take action to end poverty.
  • Guides investigators through an assessment of their own resources and how to build those resources as part of their move to self-sufficiency.
  • Puts the concepts, tools, and relationships in the hands of people in poverty to make a difference in their own lives and in the life of their community.


Getting Ahead “investigators” speak out