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Organizers encouraged by turnout at anti-poverty seminar in Coldwater Monday

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - About 50 people turned out Monday during the noon hour in Coldwater for a special seminar for stakeholders in Branch and Hillsdale Counties to learn how to begin taking steps to end poverty in our communities for the long term. The aim is to seek solutions that shift from managing poverty to eliminating it.

The event organized by the Branch County Coalition against Domestic Violence was funded by the McKinney-Vento Education Program. The seminar speaker was Bonnie Bazata, the executive director of the St. Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative, which has been active for the past decade.

One of the Bridges efforts set to start this month in Branch County is the Getting Ahead Program, a plan to put a person in poverty in a position to understand why they are in the economic turmoil they are in and how to get out by setting their own goals if they so decide. The classes start next week and are made possible due to funding and support from the Branch County United Way. The Branch County Coalition has its work cut out for them after learning last week that McKinney-Vento funding for the fiscal year beginning October 1st has been cut in half.