ALPENA, Mich — Families across Michigan and here on the sunrise side have vast differences in resources and economic stability. Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency has committed to promoting understanding of people from every background with their 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 in poverty. It also helps them find solutions to each family’s unique situation. Outreach coordinator for NEMCSA, Frances Whitney, says poverty can impact community members in more ways than one.
“Someone that is dealing with generational poverty, specifically, there are many resources somebody might be lacking and money and finances is just one of them.”
The training covers a wide range of topics, including causes of poverty, hidden rules of each socio–economic class, and barriers to understanding, to name a few. But one of the most important lessons is that very situation is different. And every person facing poverty is not at fault.Whitney says,
“There is a huge difference between people who are in situational poverty as opposed to those who are in generational poverty, and how people are able to get themselves out of each of those situations are things that we provide during this training.”
Mike Maturen is a substance abuse prevention specialist at Up North Prevention. He says the ideas offered at the training are ones that will benefit his community and he recommends every organization take the time to understand what their neighbors are going through.
“One of the biggest takeaways that I’ve had so far is that we don’t always speak the same language, and we need to kind of learn how to communicate more effectively with those that we’re serving.”