“I am sick and tired of all the people in the United States that live off the government. They are lazy and just want a free hand-out. Why can’t they just get a job and work like the rest of us ?”
Some of the volunteers and administrators of a community outreach center where I volunteer recently attended an inservice program called BRIDGES out of POVERTY, created by Philip E DeVol, Ruby K. Payne, and Terie Dreussi Smith. The research and studies they have completed does not support that quote.
During the inservice, We spent a significant amount of time comparing the lives and beliefs of those who live in poverty and those of us who live within the Middle Class. What I learned in this presentation has opened my eyes to the plight of those in poverty and especially those who live with generational poverty.
Did you know that there are thousands of ways into poverty, but according to the authors of this program, there are basically only 4 ways out?
The four ways out of poverty are things we “middle classers” take for granted. Think about your life for a moment. When things go wrong or start a downward slide, most of us have (1) key relationships. We have a support group. It may be family, friends, coworkers, neighbors; but we have a lot of people who will help us out. (2) Most of us have always had a vision; a goal. How old were you when someone first asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” From an early age that we have been taught that we will have a job, a career, perhaps further our education. We have goals. (3) Most of us have a skill or a talent that we can use to achieve our goal. Our parents helped cultivate these talents, helped us discover what we were good at, and we eventually found the pathway to achievement that used that skill or talent. (4) We want to be successful. If for some reason, we fall onto hard times and find ourselves living in poverty, we have the motivation and desire to get out. It is too painful to stay.
Those who live in generational poverty lack key relationships. Relationships are important to those in poverty, but the relationships that they cultivate are not those that can help them escape from poverty. The relationships that they have can only help them with short-term assistance. A ride when the car breaks down, a few dollars for food or medicine when the kids get sick, food stamps, a place to stay for a few nights. Individuals from generational poverty may not have a long-term goal. Their goals are much simpler; food, shelter, survival. Talent? Those who live in poverty certainly have talents; the difference being those talents were not nurtured or developed. Their families were too busy just surviving and trying to meet their basic needs. Motivation to escape poverty is often lacking. For many, it does not seem within the realm of possibility. There are too many hurdles to jump over and they cannot picture their lives any differently than it has always been.
There was so much more to this presentation. It is a fascinating topic, and a huge problem for our country and our world.
For more information visit http://www.bridgesoutofpoverty.com/Community/
To become a Blogger for Peace, visit this wordpress blog