It's so exciting knowing that the Bridges Out of Poverty program is spreading to Checotah and McIntosh County. 

Treasure McKenzie has been sharing knowledge about Bridges Out of Poverty since the program began in Muskogee.

"Bridges Out of Poverty is a community-wide initiative that empowers low-income families to radically change their lives by discovering and overcoming barriers to success through 20-week classes and educates the middle class and business community about the complexities of poverty,” said McKenzie, certified Bridges Out of Poverty trainer.

Muskogee's program has received numerous awards for their success. 

Some of the program's graduates in Muskogee have gone on to become self-sufficient, homeowners and even business owners.

Checotah is just beginning its program, and if the community accepts the program and gets involved, there's no telling how many people will be helped break free of financial struggles.

The program is not just beneficial to participants, but to all of the community members who take part in helping those participants.

Bud Shackelford, pastor at First Assembly of God, said McIntosh County is one of the leading counties in Oklahoma in poverty.

"Those of us from middle or upper class backgrounds don't understand the circumstances and the way of thinking of a person in poverty," Shackelford said. "We want to assist and need to understand how society works for them and how to make that bridge from where they are to a place where they can have a better lifestyle."

Learning how to help people find their way out of poverty is the first step. It's wonderful to see so many of Muskogee County's neighbors have the opportunity to better their lives and the lives of their families.

What to do

If you are interested in learning more about Bridges Out of Poverty, call: (918) 473-5714.

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