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!

Control Childhood Asthma: Ways to Help Detox Your Home

childhood asthmas control triggers

childhood asthmas control triggersAsthma is more common in people under 18 years of age. It’s the most common chronic disease among children ( The number of children reported to be suffering with asthma has increased - a serious trigger can be the air inside the home. Often the air inside the home can be worst than the air outside. Air inside the home carries unhealthy dust, mold, dirt, pet dander, and gases (VOCs) from chemicals in the carpeting, upholstery, paint, and cleaning supplies. With more efficient, energy-saving housing products, such as windows, doors, and siding houses are tightly “sealed in” which means less air circulation between outside and inside. Those VOC gases in the air that once were able to escape are now trapped in triggering asthma, especially in young children.

What are VOCs?

According to the Sierra Club Green HomeThe gases, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paints, stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives, release the highest levels of VOCs for days, weeks, months, even years. Meanwhile your upholstery, carpets, and drapes act like sponges, absorbing VOCs and releasing them over time. While not everyone may be bothered by exposure to these gases, they can be a serious health risk for people with chemical sensitivities, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. The good news is most major paint companies now offer at least one low-VOC paint, usually a water-based latex. And a few companies offer a full line of zero-VOC paints. Water-based sealants, stains, and floor-finishing products are available now, too.

Detox your home and breathe easier.

  • Start with your kitchen cabinets. My husband replaced our original cabinet doors that were made from plywood and adhesive with hardwood doors. If you can’t afford to replace the doors or build your own from hardwood, you can apply low- or zero-VOC clear sealants over particle board and other pressed wood products to limit adhesive exposure.
  • Before you choose your wall paint, research VOCs and which paint have the lowest or no VOC levels which are allergy friendly for those who are sensitive…especially children and adults who are prone to asthama. From Consumer Reports: The federal government caps the VOC content in paint at 250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat finishes and 380 g/l for other finishes (low-luster, semigloss, etc.). However, some manufacturers have opted to comply with more stringent limits—50 g/l for all finishes—set by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District. These paints include such products as Benjamin Moore Aura, True Value Easy Care, and Glidden Evermore.

(The Ozone Transport Commission, a multistate organization created under the Clean Air Act, also has a model rule that limits flat coatings to 100 g/l and non-flat coatings to 150 g/l. It has been adopted by the District of Columbia and Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Any paint sold in these places must be OTC-compliant.)

  • We recently painted our den and replaced the carpeting in preparation of our fourth grandchild’s first birthday. Shortly after we decorated, his pediatrician told his parents he has asthama, the cause is unknown but now we are more conscious of what products we purchase.  Luckily we live in one of the states that is OTC compliant as stated above and the Stainmaster Carpet and padding we had installed were also low in VOCs.
  • Hardwood, vinyl, or tile flooring are each less irritating to those sensitive to allergens. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation offers this advice on home remodeling: Hardwood floors are an ideal type of floor for persons with allergies and asthma. Still, finishing products can cause a temporary reaction to the chemicals used in the process. To lessen these effects, choose varnishes and waxes with low volatile organic compound offgassing potential (ask your paint dealer to recommend safer products) and leave the house while floors are being finished. Ventilate the house for several days. Wait until the odor is gone before returning to the house, do not just ventilate and stay in the house. If possible, have the house professionally cleaned afterward to remove sanding and dusting residue.
  • With every change in season, so should your furnace’s air filter be changed. Ideally, it is recommended to change the air filter every 3 to 6 months. To help you remember, write the date you made the change – just remember to check. Since we all get busy. it’s best to change the air filters as the season changes.
  • For other household items, choose your cleaning supplies, including laundry items, that are dye and frangrance free. Purchase linens, pillows, blinds, and curtains that are easily cleaned without affecting sensitive family members. Do your research to find certified asthma and allergy friendly products.

One last asthma and allergy friendly tip for every household: have everyone take their shoes off before entering house. When we walk outside, we pick up fertilizers, animal droppings, seasonal allergens, etc, which we bring indoors and leave wherever we walk. With babies, children, and pets playing on the carpet and bare floors, they are exposed daily – and that is not good.

AL-ANON Family Groups Offer Support to Families of Alcoholics


Millions of people are affected by the excessive drinking of someone close. “The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness, and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.” The following twenty questions are designed to help you decide whether or not you need Al-Anon Family Grouups:

  1. Do you worry about how much someone else drinks?
  2. Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
  3. Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
  4. Do you feel that if the drinker loved you, he or she would stop drinking, to please you?
  5. Do you blame the drinker’s behavior on his or her companions?
  6. Are plans frequently upset, or cancelled, or meals delayed because of the drinker?
  7. Do you make threats, such as, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll leave you”?
  8. Do you secretly try to smell the drinker’s breath?
  9. Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
  10. Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
  11. Are holidays and gatherings spoiled because of drinking?
  12. Have you considered calling the police for help in fear of abuse?
  13. Do you search for hidden alcohol?
  14. Do you often ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking?
  15. Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
  16. Do you sometimes feel like a failure when you think of the lengths you have gone to control the drinker?
  17. Do you think that, if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
  18. Do you ever threaten to hurt yourself to scare the drinker?
  19. Do you feel angry, confused or depressed most of the time?
  20. Do you feel there is no one who understands your problems?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to three or more of these questions, Al-Anon or Alateen may help.