Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

break the cycle of povertyBreaking the cycle of poverty isn’t easy. If it were, I wouldn’t be starting this conversation. And that is just what I want this to be…a conversation about how you or those you know have found a way to break the cycle or at least put a kink in it to slow it down.

The cycle of poverty is the set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, has continued for three or more generations unless there is outside intervention, such as education. As I see it, here are some of the causes of the cycle of poverty beginning or continuing in the United States…

  • a baby is born to a young couple with an unstable relationship…the “father” doesn’t stay involved and the responsibility of raising the child is solely on the mother
  • responsibility of parenthood prevents mother from finishing high school or beyond to prepare for a financially secure future
  • level of school work becomes too difficult for the parent to help the child
  •  parent is too busy trying to provide for her child to be able to take the time needed to support learning
  •  mother becomes discouraged herself and this filters down to her child
  • parent is not able to keep her child involved in structured extra-curricular activities allowing for too much unstructured, unsupervised time which eventually leads to trouble
  • more often than not, the single mother repeats her own cycle and has more than one child to support

…and the cycle continues when her child becomes of age…unless the young mother was fortunate enough to have a support system of family and friends who themselves were not caught up in this cycle of poverty and despair.

There is another barrier to breaking they cycle…the past is blamed for the present which blocks the future. The past is the past…the future hasn’t happened yet so why not invent a new one…take a new path instead of staying on the old one!

Am I wrong? I know there are exceptions to this…those who have broken the cycle of poverty or are working very hard to do so for themselves and most importantly, for their child…for their future.

Education is Key to Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Education is free. Teachers are willing to help children who are motivated. Many schools have after school programs to help students improve their skills. Schools have computer labs and many are available after school for student and family use. The Internet has many free videos, games, and worksheets to support classroom learning. Public libraries have free Internet for local residents.

These educational resources aren’t only available for the children. Parents who wish to help their children can contact their teachers and ask for help in learning the focus of their lessons. Parents can take the time to read the textbook lessons and doing the homework beginning from the earliest years. Parents can learn with their children…even ask the children to explain the work to them! That alone will help the child retain and apply their new skills.

 Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Stories

The reason I’ve written this post is to find moms who have done this, have broken the cycle or are in the process of breaking the cycle of hardship and poverty…who have or are on the path of improving their life’s situation for them and their children. I welcome these stories in hope that other moms in similar situations can take something away with them to help break the cycle for their family’s future. If you wish to share your situation and how you are making a difference, please use “Contact Nana” above. For comments, see below.

I also welcome comments with thoughts on the statements I made in this post.

Thank you for visiting!

School Budget Crisis: Fundraising Ideas

As I posted earlier this week, New Jersey is going through a very large budget crunch with includes taking away funds from our schools. So now, more than ever before, we who are involved in student activities need to get involved in fundraising.

In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I am also the Sophomore Class Advisor – a position I’ve held for the past 11 years. One very large fundraiser our students participate is the Battle of the Classes. It is a culmination of many events that collect food or clothing and also raises money for charity through class competitions. The grand finale just took place this past Friday evening with three hours of relay races, lip sync competition, pie eating contest, and theme decorating of the gym. It is the highlight of my year – it is enjoyed by everyone. Each class wins money for their class which moves with them through high school. The money is used by the Juniors to defray some of the cost of the Junior-Senior Prom and by the Seniors towards the cost of a class day trip.

In addition to the Battle of the Classes, the students participate in the town’s Country Fair. Each class creates a game according to a theme chosen by the Chamber of Commerce who awards prize money to the best youth group design. In addition, they are able to charge $1 for playing the game.  The students leave at the end of the day with a great feeling of accomplishment.

Past fundraisers included selling baked goods and candy, but now sugar based foods are prohibited. Our students have found it more difficult to come up with successful fundraisers where they won’t lose money. Now with so many resources easily accessible through the Internet, at least the researching of fundraising ideas has become easier.

The school band has always successfully held holiday wrapping paper and magazine fundraisers. I don’t think that will ever become obsolete.  Other classes have sold poinsettias, T-shirts, and discount cards. For the past 10 years, my sophomores sold frozen cookie dough but this year’s group chose not to. Perhaps after coming in third in their Battle of the Classes, they’ll rethink that choice and look for other ways on how to make money.