ALPENA, Mich – Families across Michigan and here on the Sunrise side have big differences in resources and economic stability. The Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency is committed to promoting understanding of people from all walks of life with its Bridges Out of Poverty program.
The program is designed to train members of public works organizations on the best ways to alleviate the stress and stigma of people experiencing poverty. It also helps them find solutions to each family’s unique situation. NEMCSA Outreach Coordinator Frances Whitney says poverty can impact community members in more ways than one.
âSomeone dealing with generational poverty, in particular, there are a lot of resources that someone might be lacking and money and finances are just one of them. “
The training covers a wide range of topics, including the causes of poverty, the hidden rules of each socio-economic class, and barriers to understanding, to name a few. But one of the most important lessons is that the situation itself is different. And anyone facing poverty is not at fault. Whitney says:
âThere is a huge difference between people in situational poverty and those in generational poverty, and how people can get out of each of these situations are things we offer during this training. “
Mike Maturen is an Addiction Prevention Specialist at Up North Prevention. He says the ideas offered during the training will benefit his community and recommends that each organization take the time to understand what their neighbors are going through.
“One of the biggest takeaways I’ve had so far is that we don’t always speak the same language, and we somehow need to learn to communicate more effectively with those we serve.”