(The Philadelphia Inquirer) Changing their minds, and their lives: A way out of poverty in Philadelphia

Aladaya Brinson spent her childhood and youth moving with her grandmother from one housing project to another, from South Philly, to North Philly, to Southwest Philly and then back to North Philly, where the 29-year-old now lives.

By Harold Brubaker

Brinson didn’t feel poor during what she called her “tour of project homes,” but now recognizes that she and her extended family lived under the constant stress of “survival mode.”

Growing up in poverty, it’s hard to see a way through the tunnel,” she said. “Even just getting a proper education, going to school every day, that is hard when you’re trying to make sure you live to see tomorrow.”

But now Brinson sees a way to a better life, thanks to her participation in a program called MindSet run by the nonprofit Episcopal Community Services. MindSet, modeled on a program developed in Boston, uses coaching to help participants think more clearly and work through a succession of discrete goals, so they can change their circumstances in lasting ways.

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