Bridges out of Poverty, Strategies for Professionals and Communities

by Ruby K. Payne, PhD; Philip E. DeVol and Terie Greussi Smith -2009

Book Review by Ray Herrmann

This book elaborates on the vast differences between people's thinking of the Poverty Culture vs. the Middle Class Culture. These differences apply to differences in how people perceive, speak about, and deal with the topics of: Financial, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, Physical Support Systems, Relationships/Role Models, Knowledge of Hidden Rules and of Coping Strategies. It is the fundamental differences in these cultures that cause the misunderstandings which present a barrier to entry into the Middle Class. The book also dwells on the importance and approaches of Mentors.

This book, with its case studies, methods and suggestions, could give the civic-minded reader fresh ideas because it presents the cultural differences between the Poor and Middle Classes in a way that helps one develop a better understanding of the whole situation. This could have ramifications in how our community Processes our Laws, our Politics and guide the Focus of our programs. We are all limited by our own perceptions, so any clarification and broadening could become an immense power for effective change.