Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World Curriculum


Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin-By World is a 10-session group workshop that helps participants stabilize their situations and build resources to improve their lives. The program guides participants through the process of assessing their own lives and circumstances and teaches them how to build those resources and how to develop tools and skills as part of their move to self-sufficiency.  Getting Ahead participants create their own plan for a sustainable life, build healthy relationships with others, set short- and long-term goals, and develop a step-by-step plan to achieve those goals. It is a proven curriculum currently being used in 46 states and 5 countries with over 80,000 graduates.

In Getting Ahead sessions, participants:
          establish their own achievable short- and long-term goals
          develop a step-by-step plan to achieve those goals
          explore resources needed for sustainability
          build healthy relationships with others
          improve financial skills
          and begin the process of writing their own future story.

To be clear, the Getting Ahead process does not provide answers or make any argument for change. Motivation, insight, and planning come solely from the participants. This is a kitchen-table experience—not a classroom.

The Getting Ahead curriculum facilitates knowledge gains about poverty and how to begin to “get ahead” when living in poverty. Participants leave the program with more knowledge about how to avoid financial predators, what kind of rent they can afford, and what kind of interest they can legally be charged. They are leaving with increased knowledge of themselves and the resources they need to move forward economically and with an individualized plan for beginning to increase their resources.

One Body Collaboratives provides the backbone structure and support for these classes and will also track all Getting Ahead participants over the course of two years to measure the results of the program.  Each year we seek partner organizations to host these classes at their respective locations for their clients. One Body Collaboratives supports these programs financially through the funding we have received.

 Community partners that have hosted classes include: Life Church, Northern Illinois Regional Affordable Community Housing (NIReACH), Rockford Housing Authority, Rockford MELD and St. John's United Church of Christ. 

We continue to seek community partners to host classes.  If your organization is interested, please contact Mary Cacioppi by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our Graduates reported the following:
34% Had an Increase in Income
43% Increased their Education
32% Reported a Decrease in Debt
13% Report a Decrease on the need for State or Federal Benefits

A full report of results can be found here: Getting Ahead Results

Watch a Testimonial from a Rockford Housing Authority graduate here: Facebook

Watch the National Getting Ahead Video here:

2022 NiREACH Graduating Class