One in four Erie City residents - and almost one in six Erie County residents live in poverty. This has a detrimental overall impact on the community's quality of life and economic growth. People in poverty often lack the resources and relationships to the community to overcome the barriers needed to move out of poverty.
The Getting Ahead program has had over 250 graduates with over 150 entering the workforce increasing their economic stability.
Getting Ahead focuses on the elimination of poverty in Erie County. The mission is to provide low-income individuals and returning citizens with the tools needed to become independent and provide for themselves and their families.
Upon completion of a 10-week program on how to "Get Ahead" when living in poverty, participants are paired with a mentor who offers support and acts as a positive role model, while working to fulfill their goals and get ahead.
The Getting Ahead program helps low-income families move from dependency to self‐sufficiency through education, self‐assessment, and mentoring experience. The participants will take a look at their current situation and plan for the future all while building relationships, setting goals and resources to "get ahead".
Getting Ahead while Getting Out program is for returning citizens who often find that their life is unstable upon release. The Getting Ahead while Getting Out group will help the participant to investigate the community they are entering and the resources available to them. The participants will investigate tools to help overcome barriers, build a future plan in order to reduce the chance for recidivism.
Mentors will benefit in a number of ways, including personal satisfaction from making a difference in someone's life, enhancing leadership and interpersonal skills, and giving back to the Erie community.
Most of us can think of people in our lives, more experienced than ourselves, who taught us something new, offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated a friendship, or simply expressed an interest in our development as a person. They helped us negotiate an uphill path or find an entirely new path to a goal in our personal and/or professional lives. They showed us a world larger than our neighborhood. They pointed out talents that we hadn't noticed in ourselves and stimulated ideas about what we might be able to accomplish.
Although many of us have benefited from these kinds of relationships, many of our participants have not had that opportunity to work with a mentor who can be a positive role model. Mentors are able to share valuable information through these relationships. That is why YOUR involvement is such an important part of the Getting Ahead program!