Bridges Out of Poverty is a set of concepts that helps businesses, churches, schools, social service organizations and individuals address poverty in a comprehensive way. It provides ideas and concrete tools a community needs to reduce, alleviate and work with those in poverty. The United Way of Paducah-McCracken County is hosting a Bridges Out of Poverty training session on December 7. The two sessions will cover topics such as Mental Models, Causes of Poverty, Poverty is Relative, Hidden Rules, Language, Family Structure and Resources. 

Since 2012, Bridges Out of Poverty sessions have been offered multiple times during the year. This training is not specifically for service providers, and the general public is invited. If you live and work in our community, you interact with people currently in poverty. These sessions will allow participants to relate more effectively with those who are struggling financially.


"To truly address the issues surrounding poverty, we first and foremost have to realize everyone should be involved in the solution,” Executive Director Betsy Burkeen told me. “Regardless of economic status, poverty affects us all. Through the Bridges Out of Poverty course, participants will gain a better understanding and appreciation of daily challenges facing people living an impoverished lifestyle. By sharing these struggles with the community, we can all become a part of the solution.”


The last Bridges out of Poverty session of 2018 will be on Friday, December 7at West Kentucky Community & Technical College (WKCTC). Check-in begins at 8:30 am in the Emerging Technology Center, Room 140. The first half of the program will be from 9am-12pm with lunch break on your own from 12-1pm. The second part of the program will be from 1-4pm. Please note you need to complete Part 1 before you take Part 2. The cost is $32 for the full day program. 

If you are interested in attending these sessions, visit for registration information.

iLearnTrainer - Jennifer Etherton

Jennifer Etherton is a certified Bridges out of Poverty Facilitator. She holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work and a Master of Science in Human Services from Murray State University. She has coordinated the Work and Learn program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College for eleven years, serving TANF students enrolled in GED. Additional trainer certifications include College Achievement Alliance (Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students) and Getting Ahead in a Just Getting'-By World. 

As a former teen parent and KTAP recipient, Jennifer speaks about poverty from firsthand experience. Having crossed the lines of socioeconomic status, Jennifer offers valuable insight into the Bridges Out of Poverty concepts.