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Creating Future Stories

Posted on March 09, 2011
The goal of "Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' by World" is to help participants (investigators) create their own path for making a stable, secure life for themselves and their families. Who we are today was decided by what we did yesterday. Who we'll be tomorrow is decided by what we do today. We are all creating our future story right now. "Getting Ahead" helps people create their future stories.
Those who participate are called investigators. Investigators commit to weekly meetings for about 15 weeks. A meal, childcare, materials, and a stipend are provided through the grant. The outcomes for the local program include: investigators have the skills to be self-sufficient; investigators can live in a stable environment; investigators can identify the components of a safe environment. The "Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' by World" groups have identified barriers and how they can be addressed: being new in the community; lacking self confidence; and understanding importance were some barriers. The groups come up with ideas and help each other make plans. After identifying where they want to focus, the group brainstorms and develops plans and follow up goals. Some of the investigators make plans to complete degrees and/or start higher education. Just realizing the importance of social supports and making plans for developing a circle of supports for some is huge.
Looking at income/jobs long term and making plans to increase education and income has been another realization. A key component is making long term plans. The thought process of moving from concrete to abstract to concrete is very new to some investigators. This is in part because the abstract looks beyond the here and now. Another key is understanding relationships that need to be changed and that long term relationships take more time. Some of the investigators begin mediation/counseling. The bottom line is that investigators look at where they need change and make plans for their futures. Some gain employment or join community groups. Others pursue more education, go to counseling, communicate with their children about issues from the class, or build support systems through family, friends, and community.
Kansas Kids Count 2008 data reports that 12% of children under 18 years old in Ellis County live below 100% of poverty (for a family of four, the poverty line for gross family income is $22,050). Moving from poverty to economic stability can be done by understanding stability and the hidden rules, living simply and building the resources described earlier. The intended outcomes are for individuals and families from generational and situational poverty to function effectively in educational and employment settings plus be supported by the community to succeed. Each investigator completes a self assessment as a measure of change and a follow up is performed to evaluate outcomes.
Moving out of poverty improves the economic indicators for children. Positive changes in economics have positive impacts on the health and education indicators for children.