Bridges Out of Poverty

Join us for our upcoming Bridges out of Poverty Workshop!

The Dubuque Circles® Initiative will host its annual “Bridges Out of Poverty” workshop, designed to provide insight into both the challenges and strengths of those who live in or have lived in poverty, on Thursday June 9th at the Holiday Inn, 450 Main St., in Dubuque.
The workshop will be offered to social, health, legal, educational, and business professionals, as well as the general public, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The cost to participate in the workshop is $60 per person. Social work continuing education units (CEUs) are available through a Loras College for an additional $5. Space is limited. The registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, beverages, and a book of your choice.
The workshop is based on the book, “Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities” by Dr. Ruby Payne, founder of aha! Process, Inc., a company that provides workshops, publications, and consulting services to help improve lives and build sustainable success in communities, schools, and higher education. Topics to be covered in the workshop include:

• the hidden rules of socio-economic classes,
• the social and political factors affecting poverty,
• understanding communication patterns,
• four causes of poverty/barriers to change,

“Bridges Out of Poverty” will be facilitated by certified trainers, Jim Ott, a school psychologist with the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, and Ermina Soler, Circles Coach for the City of Dubuque, who brings real-life experience to the team.
Registration is available online below, or by contacting Ermina Soler at 563-690-6109.

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Bridges Out of Poverty
is a training based off of the work of Dr. Ruby Payne, A Framework for Understanding Poverty.   It provides insight for middle and upper class individuals about the "hidden rules" of each socio-economic class and how these unspoken rules can serve as barriers to effective communication.  Those interested in becoming an Ally to support someone who wants to get out of poverty are trained with Bridges to help them build strong, healthy connections with their Circle Leaders.  

The City of Dubuque partners with Jim Ott, National Consultant for aha! Process, to provide organizations, individuals and institutions the opportunity to learn more about the Bridges model.  Community-wide training are held annually.

Bridges Out of Poverty Certified Trainers
Jim Ott Jim Ott is a school psychologist with Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency serving schools in Jackson County and National Consultant for Bridges out of Poverty in partnership with Aha! Process Inc. He has lived in Dubuque for the past 27 years and he and his wife, Teresa, have four children who are "native" Dubuquers.  Jim was certified in Ruby Payne's Framework for Understanding Poverty in 2006 and a year later in Bridges Out of Poverty. Since that time, Jim has become a self-described "Bridges Evangelist", speaking to any group who will listen about the possibilities of addressing poverty through Dr. Payne's lens.  Jim currently works with the Dubuque Circles Initiative as a facilitator to implement "Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-By World" curriculum.
Ermina Soler Ermina Soler is the Circles Coach for the City of Dubuque.  Ermina is a certified trainer for the Bridges out of Poverty constructs and had been working to address the myths that surround poverty for over 5 years in the Dubuque community.  She co-facilitates the Getting Ahead classes and works with the participants to creat their plans for sustainability.  Ermina is a dynamic presenter who brings real life experience and a little Brooklyn attitude to the team.  For more information about the City of Dubuque's involvement with Bridges out of Poverty, contact Ermina at

Getting AheadTM Copyright by DeVoll & Associates, LLC and is presented in partnership with aha! Process, Inc.
Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities (R. Payne, P. DeVol, T. Smith, 2001). Copyright by aha! Process, Inc and is presented in partnership with aha! Process, Inc.