A $10,000 donation from Fort Madison Economic Development and Keokuk Economic Development Corporation has jump-started the fundraising efforts for Bridges out of Poverty-Lee County.
The initiative seeks to provide education, build resources, and remove barriers to success for individuals and families living in generational poverty.
"28 % of children in Southeast Iowa live in poverty and Lee County's unemployment rate has been the highest in the state for eight of the last twelve months," said Bridges steering committee member Dennis Fraise. "The need for an initiative such as Bridges is significant. It's encouraging that both the Fort Madison and Keokuk economic development groups recognize the need and have chosen to support it."
A well-attended community training in December led to the formation of a collaborative steering committee of community leaders, business professionals, and faith based organizations from both Fort Madison and Keokuk.
The committee is working with Young House Family Services, a 501(c)3 social services organization, whose program in Des Moines county has seen considerable success. The group will expand its fundraising effort in the weeks to come as they seek to begin the first Bridges class in the fall.
The steering committee is hosting the next community-wide Bridges out of Poverty training in Keokuk on April 9th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the First Lutheran Church located at 1101 Blondeau Street. The training will look at the cyclical nature of poverty that can keep generations of a family in its grasp.
As families in poverty face enormous obstacles, hidden societal rules and structures can make it impossible to affect positive outcomes. "Community members from all backgrounds will learn how to understand that framework and work within and around it to help our most vulnerable neighbors," said Kira Kruszynski, another steering committee member. "That's essentially, the heart of the Bridges initiative." Contact Kira at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.