Bemidji United Way Explores Economic Classes With “Bridges Out of Poverty”
“Bridges Out of Poverty” is a workshop that offers a new way to view the issues of poverty through the triple lens approach, which is taught through the lenses of individual, community and structural/policy.
“‘Bridges out of Poverty’ is a book and it allows individuals, institutions and communities to really re-look at how class impacts us and are we doing our work out of a middle class-mindset and if we’re working with folks in poverty, is there a mismatch and how in our community we create a table where folks in poverty, middle class and wealth can all come together and have voice,” says author and consultant Jodi Pfarr.
The workshop was put together by the United Way, whose role in the community is to bring together and to help everyone have access, funds and resources they need to help others.
Denae Alamano, United Way of Bemidji Area Executive Director states, “There’s a group of us who wanted to bring ‘Bridges Out of Poverty’ back to our community. Jodi has been here before but it has been a while, and as different community initiatives are happening we want to make sure that all people are taken care of.”
According to Pfarr, the workshop is intended for two reasons. One is for attendees to have a personal understanding on how their economic class impacts their view on things, and the second to gain ideas as to what other communities are doing to want to move things forward here in Bemidji.
Breanna Gallop, who attended today’s event, states, “Well, one of the reasons why I came today is because I work with the public. I work with a lot of people who do live in poverty. I think that attending today’s seminar will only help me grow in my career as to better help serve the lesser part of the community or those people who are in poverty, and I learned a lot today.”
The workshop focused on several key points that include economic environments and how generational and situational poverty differ, as well as understanding and having a mutual respect for those who have a different economic background as you.
”I hope that everyone had some sort of new perspective. We all should have new eyes and new ideas of ways that we can help those less fortunate than us,” said Alamano.
According to Welfare Info, one out of four Bemidji residents are living in poverty. That is why people who attended today’s workshop are grateful for the opportunity and want people to be aware and understand that everyone life is different. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we as a community can help those in need.