Bridges Out of Poverty Tools and Resources

full bike rack

Tools to continue your learning

All of the following books are available through Aha Process Inc., a Ruby Payne companyBridges out of Poverty AHA Process Inc logo.

Bridges out of Poverty book covers including a framework for understanding poverty: A Cognitive Approach, Bridges out of Poverty fifth edition, Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-By World, Bridges to Sustainable Communities, and Bridges Across Every Divide.

Visit the website of Ruby K. Payne, an author of Bridges Out of Poverty.

2018 Book Reports by internal Bridges working group members

 Emotional Poverty- How to reduce anger, anxiety, and violence by Ruby K. Payne

Emotional poverty is when safety and belonging are jeopardized. Without these emotional resources, you don't have compassion of self and others. Someone low in emotional resources presents as unable to cope, show resilience, and often feels they are never enough to anyone. The emotional resource is the most difficult of the 11 resources to build. It is subtle and unnamed but can impact all relationships and performance in every aspect of life and parenting.

Regardless of financial resources if someone is lacking in emotional resources, they may still be quite “poor”. This has nothing to do with IQ and everything to do with Emotional Intelligence. Emotional poverty also occurs when the brain is not regulated and inner-self is under-developed. Bonding and attachment have not been secure, and the external environment repeatedly reinforces "less than" or "separate from" status.

Understanding and compassion are huge drivers of change. Self awareness is key. This book explains what emotional poverty is and the 'why' of anger, anxiety and conflict so that we can better choose our responses to de-escalate and support others. It removes the blame and helps to understand and motivate better behaviour as opposed to change the individual. The book offers strategies to teach coping techniques to children and students so that we can help them create a better future for themselves.

 How Much of Yourself Do You Own? By Ruby K. Payne and Emilia O’Neill-Baker

This book is a process for building emotional resources with each chapter addressing issues that keep us from emotional wholeness.

  • It is important to be aware of how we spend our energy. This is different than how we spend our time. Our energy is where we put our effort or our zest.
  • If you do the activities in this book you will learn about emotions and feelings and how our body reacts to these emotions, both good and bad.
  • If we feel we are missing pieces of ourselves, how do we get those pieces back? The activities in this book will help you to do this – to accept yourself and your experiences and work towards where you really want to be.
  • The cycle of change is never ending but we can maintain our energy in a constructive way. We can learn and grow from our journey.

Of course, there will be stumbling blocks along the way, but if we work at it, we can rewire our brain. We can change old habits, feel good and regain our energy.

Emotional wealth is empowering! Working through the activities that are in this book will help you to reach your emotional wealth.

 The ‘R’ Rules A guide for teens to identify and build resources By Elizabeth W. Souther and contributing author: Ruby K Payne, Ph.D.

The ‘R’ Rules will help to:

  • Create and manage a game plan for life
  • Engage in teamwork; develop, organize and manage projects
  • Recognize and use patterns to predict, problem solve and plan
  • Develop “voice”, contribute, and become community leaders
The ‘R’ Rules is filled with fantastic tips and activities to help with motivation, learning about what we value, our goals and how to identify and build resources. The more we can focus on building resources such as education, relationships, support systems, role models, and communication skills the more choices we have in creating the future we want. As a great resource, this book helps us answer what we want to do in our lives and how we can make it happen. It was specifically written for teens but could be used for anyone who is working on goal setting and making a change in their life. To help put our learning into action the activities in the ‘R’ Rules are realistic, interactive, and helpful to getting plans into place. The activities are fun and will help anyone explore themselves and the things they want to work on achieving in life.
 Working with Parents - Building Relationships for Student Success by Ruby K Payne, Ph.D.

" What made the biggest difference was whether or not parents provided these three things for their children: Support, Insistence, Expectations."

When working with parents from poverty, use these kinds of phrases: 

  • Learning this will help your child win more often
  • The mind is a mental weapon that no one can take from you
  • Learning this will help your child make more money
  • This information will help keep your child safer
  • I know you love and care about your child very much or you would not be here 

Tips for working with parents from poverty: 

  • Always call them Mr. or Mrs. - it's a sign of respect
  • Use humour (not sarcasm)
  • Deliver bad news through a story
  • Use casual language if you are comfortable with it
  • Offer a cup of coffee
  • Use adult Voice (not parent voice)
  • Be understanding but firm. Be open to discussion 

Engaging parents:

  • Have gatherings that involve food
  • Create emotional safety for parents by being respectful of their concerns, openly sharing school activities, clarifying behavioural parameters/expectations of the school, and finding available opportunities
  • Make a newsletter - but keep it simple, clear and to the point
  • Use simple formats for giving information - use visuals
  • Pay parents to come in and call other parents - have clear list of what can be discussed
 Achievement for All: Keys to Educating Middle Grades Students in Poverty by Ruby Payne

To help adolescents (ages 10-15) living in poverty to determine and realize their dreams and goals, this book will provide you with information on:

  • the developmental processes of young adolescents and what that looks like some a youth living in poverty
  • how to find resources and interventions for youth living in poverty
  • helping adolescents develop their "future story"
  • how to better understand the stages of development for adolescents and how living in an under resourced household can affect each of the stage 
This book is great if you are looking to understand an adolescent in your life (your own or one you are working with) and how you can support them at each stage of their development to give them their best chance in life.
 Hidden Rules of Class at Work by Ruby K. Payne, PhD, and Don L. Krabill

The purpose of the book is twofold: to understand the unspoken class issues related to supervision and promotion. This book is helpful to those interested in advancement at work.

This book offers the following:

  • A series of individual assessment tools
  • The Krabill/Payne Resource Quotient - presents 10 resources related to the work place where the reader can find their professional strengths and weaknesses
  • There are several Case Studies that the reader will score and then can match their results with the debrief provided
  • The book offers key Hidden Rules so that the reader can understand the transition from beginning supervision to mid management then mid management to executive level
The book then offers an in-depth look at each of the 11 resources.

The 11 Bridges Resources

Bridges out of Poverty Mental Model for remembering the 11 Essential Resources

Mental Model of Resources

In Bridges, we define poverty/long term instability as the extent to which an individual does without 11 essential resources. Once built, through the work of the individual and the support of a coaching relationship, we have a stronger foundation of stability for long term success.

Bridges also uses mental models to describe how something might be or work. Mental models help us to process and remember things. The hand model is a mental model of the 11 essential resources for stability. The 8 resources within the hand (hidden rules, spiritual, health, mental, emotional, financial, social capital, and relationships and role models) were determined by service providers/authors of the Bridges out of Poverty framework. An additional 3 (integrity and trust, motivation and persistence, and language) were identified and added to the 8 by individuals experience poverty through the "Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World" Program. This is what makes Bridges such a powerful  framework in that the model was built in partnership with the people we serve with lived experience - not for them - in order to support long term life stabilization together. 

11 Essential Resources Defined

 Money to purchase goods and services.
 Ability to control emotional responses.
 Mental capability to deal with daily life.
 Language/Formal Register
 Ability to use appropriate vocabulary and grammar.
 Social Capital and Support Systems
 Friends, family and other resources to help.
 Physical health and mobility.
 A belief in divine purpose and guidance.
 Integrity and Trust
 Trust, predictability and safety.
 Motivation and Persistence
 Energy, drive and planning.
 Relationships and Role Models
 Access to people who consistently behave appropriately and are nurturing.
 Knowledge of Hidden Rules
 Know unspoken cues and behaviours of different groups.

Bridges out of Poverty Model

Philanthropy, Policy and Quality of Life

The Bridges out of Poverty Model is a foundational framework to move from instability and poverty to long-term resource stability. The model is wrapped around 3 core approaches: Giving Back, Staying Ahead and Getting Ahead. These approaches are applied to 3 key groups: Individual, Community and Institutional with activities that happen in each group related to the core approaches. The Model uses an evaluation and designated outcome method throughout the process with each key group.

Constructs and Language


Everyone at the planning table eliminating barriers

 Giving Back

Resourced individuals:

  • Attain critical mass of resources

Under-resourced individuals:

  • Staying ahead development and data

 Staying Ahead

Resourced individuals:

  • Training certification

Under-resourced individuals:

  • How much of yourself do you own?
  • Financial literacy
 Getting Ahead

Resourced individuals:

  • Bridges training

Under-resourced individuals:

  • Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin'-by World training


Succession planning and endowments

 Giving Back
  •  Institution to institution
  • Planning for growth and stability
 Staying Ahead
  • Sector involvement
  • Barrier identification
  • Community future story
 Getting Ahead
Steering Committee:
  • Selection
  • Training
  • Guidelines


Leadership development and long-term funding sources

 Giving Back
  • Return on investment and partnerships
 Staying Ahead
  • Case management
  • Policy and procedure changes
 Getting Ahead
  • Board selection
  • Institutional training

Creating a Bridges Community in Peterborough

Blue tinted picture of a bridge from a left perspective.
Individual Lens
  • Bridges out of Poverty training for all staff (fosters understanding of societal lenses for improved relationships)
  • Bridges certified trainer for  our agency and community partners  – building critical mass of understanding across partnerships for mutual clients
  • Getting Ahead workshop for clients wishing to exit poverty
  • Staying Ahead for all GA grads to build 11 essential resources for long term stability and job retention
  • Financial literacy programs
Blue tinted photo of a bridge from central perspective.
Community Lens
  • Private sector engagement in Bridges training– employers, landlords, banks
  • Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World – referrals from community partners
  • Staying Ahead monthly workshops –building 11 resources for stability in collaboration with our trained Community Partners (guest speakers)
  • Workplace Stability workshops for local employers in partnership with our Employment Ontario offices
  • Continue to share implementation strategies and learn from each other  (hosting bi-annual community of practice meetings for all trained community partners)
Blue tinted photo of a bridge with a right sided perspective
Institutional Lens
  • Certifying a trainer for our entire organization (with mandatory bi- annual refresher).
  • Adapt the way we communicate – (letters, forms, marketing material revised).
  • Respond to clients in the moment (drop in case-manager at  reception)
  • Resist being the ‘expert’  (client advisory group established).
  • Client feedback/input cards throughout office.
  • Recruitment and New Hire Orientation process.
  • Workshop re-vamping to match populations we are serving = significant  increased attendance.
  • Shifting from traditional “case-management” to “Life Stabilization coaching” by building the 11 essential resources for stability with our clients through a coaching relationship.
  • Striving to become a ‘people centered’ culture at all levels of the organization.