Training and Resources

Bucks County Opportunity Council offers three trainings to educate people and facilitate understanding the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty:

Bridges Out of Poverty

Poverty Simulations

Workplace Stability Training   

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Bridges Out of Poverty

If you or your business, religious institution, agency or organization works with people from poverty, only a deeper understanding of their challenges and strengths will help you build relationship and partner with them to create opportunities for success.

Bridges out of Poverty training takes a comprehensive approach to understanding the dynamic that cause and maintain poverty. The focus of the Bridges training is to provide a broad overview of concepts as well as concrete, practical tools and strategies for improving outcomes for people living in poverty.

Bridges Out of Poverty” is presented by Bridges Certified Trainer Tammy B. Schoonover, ACSW, LSW. Tammy has been a Bridges Trainer for more than 10 years.

Participants will learn:

  • How economic class and their hidden rules affect behaviors and mindsets
  • Review 4 areas of poverty research, providing a better understanding of the causes of poverty
  • The theory of change
  • What key resources, besides financial, help move a person out of poverty if they choose
  • How to engage the unique strength of people in poverty
  • Importance of language and communication skills

If you would like to find out more about Bridges Out of Poverty Trainings, contact Tammy Schoonover at

Many that have attended Bridges training have asked how to incorporate the strategies and concepts into our daily work with families? How do we “embed” Bridges into our work/agency?

BCOC Training Consult, Tammy Schoonover, facilitates “Morning Conversations” to discuss specific Bridges strategies and concepts.   

Poverty Simulation:
Could You Survive a Month in Poverty?

46.2 million Americans live in poverty every day. 

Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program). The recent economic downturn has seen unemployment rates rise and the use of emergency food pantries increase. The Bucks County Opportunity Council helps more than 8,000 low-income people annually.

It is difficult for those of us who have enough to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every day – the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel. 

The simulation provides participants with the opportunity to assume the role of a low-income family member living on a limited budget. The experience is divided into four 15-minute sessions, each of which represents one week in which you must provide for your family and maintain your home.  As one participant commented, “This welfare simulation dramatically demonstrates how much time and energy many families have to give just to survive from day to day. It quickly dispels the myth “that people would do fine if they would only go out and get a job!” 

If you would like to find out more about hosting a poverty simulation, contact Eileen Albillar at
or 215-345-8175 ext 209. 

Workplace Stability Training

Often workers making minimum or low wages experience instability in their personal life that affects their job performance — and the company’s bottom line.  Absenteeism, health issues, lack of understanding of the workplace culture, for example, can lead to violations that decrease morale, attendance and job performance. This workshop teaches techniques to increase workplace stability by identifying the range of factors that create instability and offering solutions.  Workplace Stability training can be facilitated in the following formats:

  • 1.5 hour introduction

  • 3 hour overview

For more information: contact Tammy B. Schoonover, ACSW, LSW, Training Consultant,