Bridges Out Of Poverty

Bridges Out of Poverty - Strategies for Professionals and Communities

Bridges Out of Poverty is based on the work of Dr Ruby Payne, Philip De Vol and Terri Dreussi Smith on making sustainable communities… building resources for individuals, institutions and communities .

In order to provide the best possible services for those who are experiencing poverty, practitioners need to develop specific capabilities and an understanding of the barriers created by a life in which people are just surviving.  For all the public, private, and faith-based programs that deal with poverty, Bridges Out of Poverty offers a language they can use to improve their work. The tools we offer, beyond the core constructs, can bring about change at the individual, institutional, community, and policy levels.

Program Information

Bridges Out of Povety workshops provide a new lens for practitioners working with people who are economically vulnerable.

Often, the experience of poverty leads to an erosion of resources such as literacy, support systems, emotional responses, appropriate role models as well as being robbed of a sense of having control over the future.

This amounts to far more than just a lack of financial resources and has profound implications for the way in which we provide responsive services to those experiencing poverty.

All courses can be customised to meet your organisation’s needs, this can include the following:

  • Customised training to meet each organisation’s objectives
  • Time for teams to create a plan of action to implement training into the workplace

Bridges Out of Poverty works across agencies and sectors such as, health, justice and community services to provide new understandings of poverty, based on individual environments, relationships and resources.

Who should attend?

Social, legal and health professionals whose daily work connects them with the lives of economically vulnerable people.

Program Options


Options: A one or two-day workshop
  • This training introduces a triple lens to view poverty through… the individual, the institutional and the community.
    • Creates a mental model for various economic realities and resultant behaviour
    • Identifies and practices the skills of making and maintaining relationships within the client life cycle
    • Understandings about household dynamics and profiles specific issues in your community
    • Interrogates the poverty research continuum into the causes of poverty
    • Develops understanding of the hidden rules of economic groups, the unspoken cues and habits and how this impacts your work/agency setting
    • Distinguishes between the different registers of language to build communication that connects people
    • Analyses the nine resources model and identifies methods to build social capital for individuals, institutions & communities
    • Establishes the key concepts that underlie Bridges Out of Poverty and how to apply them within your community
    • Provides examples of collaborative models for “Bridges” institutions and the Getting Ahead Program

    The workbook Bridges Out of Poverty serves as a training manual in the seminars and includes chapters on relationship building, mentoring, redesigning programs, and community collaboration.

    Who should attend?

    Social, legal and health professionals whose daily work connects them with the lives of economically vulnerable people.

Train the Trainer

  • Permitted to present Bridges Out of Poverty through a limited license agreement for users employed by a Permitted Institution only.
  • “Permitted Institutions” includes only the individual school campus, or other institution/agency that is the trainer’s principal employer at the time of Certification or for which they principally act as an independent contractor at the time of Certification.
  • This training is open ONLY to people who have recently completed a two day Bridges Out of Poverty workshop.

Who should attend?

This training is open ONLY to people who have recently completed a two day Bridges Out of Poverty workshop. Social, legal and health professionals whose daily work connects them with the lives of economically vulnerable people.

Program Facilitators

Kath Herbert

Kath is a national consultant for Dr Ruby Paynes’ workshops “Frameworks for Understanding Poverty” and “Bridges Out of Poverty”. Since 2002 she has delivered the work with an Australian perspective. Delivering this training has involved Kath in several community development projects Australia wide.  Her role is now an advisory one, she connects with AHA Process in USA to ensure that Australian workshops stay abreast of new developments in the work. Kath is available for keynote addresses and provides accreditation and recertification workshops.

Kath has experience working in several areas of community and education sectors. Providing programs that connect people to new learning opportunities with a strong practical focus is her main purpose.

She has worked with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in both large city colleges and small country schools. Kath has held many responsibility positions in administration, curriculum development and student welfare, in primary and secondary settings. 

With the Education Faculty of Deakin University and Primary Health Network she has delivered several research based programs. In adult and community education she has worked with long term unemployed, jobless young people, and disability employment services. 

She has experience on remote indigenous communities, in Queensland’s Gulf Country and Western Australia, recruiting and training teachers to deliver adult literacy and numeracy. She specializes in providing alternative learning opportunities that provide accessibility for vulnerable participants.

 “I am passionate about this work because it brings a “mind shift” of new understanding. I know that the strategies and tools provided give practical methods to use that are effective. It brings better communication and connection with the economically vulnerable in our communities.”

Kerry East

Kerry East is a  Frameworks for Understanding Poverty, Bridges Out of Poverty, and Getting Ahead  Training  Associate based in our Auckland, New Zealand office.   She works across New Zealand and Australia with schools and community agencies  to build their capacity to ensure better outcomes for  minoritised and marginalised learners and economically vulnerable communities.

Kerry has garnered a wealth of knowledge that comes from working in  multicultural communities with high percentages of Māori and Pacific Islanders, nurturing all cultures whilst remaining true to mana whenua (the indigenous people (Māori) who have historic and territorial rights over the land) and the obligations of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The treaty of Waitangi)  through culturally responsive pedagogies and practices.

Passionate about Education, as a classroom practitioner, Kerry championed the introduction of digital technologies as a vehicle for promoting innovation and creativity for her students across all curriculum areas.  Prior to this, Kerry was the founder of her own small business in Papakura.  Here she honed her skills in finances, leadership and communication.  Her capability to connect and interact with people ensured her business model was one of success.

Colleen Delaney

Colleen Delaney is both a Health Educator and Registered Nurse providing health services and wellbeing programs across health settings, community development, and in tertiary, secondary and primary sectors of education. Colleen’s years of experience working in healthcare and education settings has led to a broader understanding of the impact of people living in poverty and has guided individuals and communities to build their capacity using Ruby Payne’s Bridges out of Poverty framework.

Colleen recognises the strengths and intrinsic abilities of every person. She believes in creating trusting relationships, igniting self-awareness, building knowledge and continuous learning as foundational to empowering individuals to believe in themselves, develop and foster personal goals for positive change despite difficult current and past experiences. Colleen brings a rare mix of life and professional skills and experiences that underpin her passion to support and advocate for people. Working with The Gordon TAFE for over 12 years delivering Nursing and Health Programs, she was fortunate to work closely with a passionate advocate for the Bridges model in the northern suburbs of Geelong with Northern Futures. The program is recognised across the country for its ground breaking model to support individuals to self-discovery, further study and into work. Educating in schools, TAFE and community centres, delivering programs, practical work experience and coaching/mentoring, Colleen integrated the Bridges out of Poverty model into her work. Recognising the value and transformative impact, she trained as a ‘Getting Ahead’ facilitator successfully running this program with locals of the Northern suburbs of Geelong. With many successful stories and experiences over these years Colleen has taken these skills to support wellbeing in the primary school environment, where she has seen the impact of generational poverty on children and their learning.

Colleen holds a Bachelor of Nursing, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is trained in Life Coaching, Positive Psychology and the Berry Street Education Model. Colleen is passionate about the Bridges framework and brings with her a unique set of skills and experiences built over a lifetime. Few people have a capacity to empathise and empower using the Bridges model in the way she has been able, with many appreciative participants sharing their life changing stories.

Liz Dorsett

Liz is qualified and experienced in Community Development with a strong history in Local Government, Community Development, Community Planning and Community Recovery, and Not for Profits, Neighbourhood Houses and Community Centres.

Liz has worked with a variety of people, communities, levels of government and agencies and services in Melbourne West and rural and regional Victoria, including inner city, greenfields estates, and rural and regional towns and districts. Currently, Liz is working in Bushfire Recovery in East Gippsland.

Liz has been facilitating Bridges within her organisations, their partners and networks, and Getting Ahead Programs in communities.

Liz is a high-level entertainer in Bush Poetry, volunteering her time as a guest speaker with a difference; for a variety of service clubs, meetings, events and festivals to share her love of performance poetry and its therapeutic benefits.

Annette Moes

Annette Moes is a passionate educator who believes that students and young people and their circumstances need to be at the centre of planning and decision making for schools, government departments and agencies.

Annette has extensive experience as a classroom teacher having taught students aged from 3-18 years in a variety of settings including mainstream, distance education and alternative education centres.  Further into her career, she had various roles in educational leadership, inter-agency and corporate roles.  

In her career, spanning over 30 years, all was spent in rural and remote locations or low socio-economic locations.  This has given her a keen and practical understanding of effective day-to-day practices and leadership responsibilities required to counteract the effects of poverty.

Annette has personal knowledge of this content having a parent who grew up in poverty and a family member with disabilities.  She has lived and breathed much of what is covered in the workshops.

Annette is married and has 3 adult sons.