Bridges workshop participation surges as initiative ramps up training schedule

Feb 16, 2017

In response to growing demand, Bridges Summit County has expanded its slate of community workshops available throughout the year. To date, 7,771 people have completed the day-long Bridges workshops, which train participants to help build community-based solutions for the causes of poverty.

Already, there are 10 workshops scheduled for 2017, and registration is currently open.

Bridges Summit County is a collaborative initiative led by United Way of Summit County that works to build a path to financial stability for local families living in poverty. It takes a two-pronged approach, offering “Getting Ahead” classes, which provide skills and resources to people working to gain financial independence, as well as workshops for individuals and organizations committed to supporting others in their journeys from poverty to self-sufficiency.

Throughout the seven-hour Bridges workshops, participants engage in in-depth discussions on how the realities of poverty, class and economic opportunity impact families and individuals across Summit County. By examining, and sometimes challenging, the mindsets and assumptions they hold – as individuals, professionals and active members of their communities – participants develop a deeper appreciation of the experiences of people struggling to escape generational poverty.

With nearly half of all children in Akron living in poverty, there is an urgent need for a critical mass of individuals and organizations who can advocate for struggling families. Already, Tallmadge City Schools and the Summit County Health Department have pledged to have all their employees complete the training.

By the end of this year, United Way hopes to conduct a total of 18 community workshops, training hundreds of participants on how to take part in the effort to end generational poverty in Summit County. These people will help write a new story for the future of Greater Akron – one where people come together, working hand in hand to build a community brimming with hope and opportunity for all.

To learn more about Bridges Summit County, or to register to participate in an upcoming Bridges workshop, visit


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