This last week I met with Mike Cobbler, who is a representative for St. Joseph County’s Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative. This program examines the sources and impact of generational poverty on families and communities, reveals the hidden rules and norms of social classes, and supports addressing and solving generational poverty. Mr. Cobbler said: “God has given enough resources that all life can be sustained. But people have failed us, policies have failed us and our personal lifestyles have failed us.” Bridges has set up a series of classes throughout the community that outline some of the systemic reasons for poverty, how people function within each socio-economic strata, and how one can (through goal setting, being mentored, and so on…) break the cycle of poverty. To help, those taking the courses are twinned with “allies.” That is, volunteers who will be there for Bridge’s students at every turn to help with strategies for success. “So often the poor are simply living in ‘the tyranny of the moment,” said Mr. Cobbler. They are just treading water trying to make the rent each month, scratching to get money for a car repair, sweating over whether there’ll be enough food for the kids… Mr. Cobbler added that in the three years the program has been in existence in South Bend, Indiana, there have already been some 200 graduates of the 14 week program. Note: Bridges liaisons with the courts, with mental health agencies, drug and alcohol agencies, with social services… in the hopes of creating an extensive referral safety net for those in need.