Why are people poor?
Have you ever thought about the answer to this question?
We all know people are poor. We may fall into this category, ourselves.
Some would say people are poor because they are lazy, they lack education, due to their mental health or because of substance use issues. But, are these challenges reserved for people who are poor? Are there people who are not poor, rich people perhaps, who are lazy, who are uneducated, who experience mental health or substance use issues?
The answer is more complicated than some want to believe. There is no one answer. The answer requires the evaluation of systems, of policies, of the practices that are created to support people who are poor. The answer requires empathy; the ability to visualize yourself in the shoes of a person who is poor.
Being poor requires you to live your life in a constant state of survival mode. Your concern is centered around making it through the day...how will I pay my bills; how will I buy dinner; do I have enough gas to make it to work until payday; will the bus be on time; how will I make my child’s IEP meeting when I don’t have paid leave; who will take care of my child if they get suspended from school; will I arrive home on the city bus before the kids get off the school bus? The list of concerns can be daunting and seem endless.
No time to visualize long term goals or plans. The goal is to make it through today. As a result, you struggle to develop into the best version of yourself, you struggle to overcome the obstacles and challenges that come your way and you struggle to navigate the stressors of being emotionally, mentally and financially available for your children.
Further, any help you receive is typically surface level, it addresses the current crisis situation, but rarely does it actually alleviate the issue...the why. Which causes generational cycles of poverty, as well as family trauma which surfaces as family dysfunction.
So...Why are people poor?
People are poor because of racial disparities and systematic barriers within the systems designed to support them. Also, due to the lack of access to resources, specifically: healthcare, education and financial resources. In addition, they often experience inequalities in the resources they do have access to. Nobody wants to be poor, but the barriers experienced along the path to economic mobility perpetuate a cycle.
Is poverty a generational cycle?
Poverty is as much a generational cycle as wealth. Which is why there is a disparity between the economic mobility of the uneducated poor and uneducated rich. And as many are aware, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the statistics are particularly sobering. Research conducted by the Equality of Opportunity Project ranked Charlotte 50 out of 50 regarding metropolitan areas with poor economic mobility. In short, Charlotte is a dead-end for people trying to escape poverty. What a sense of hopelessness families living in poverty must feel. Further, research goes on to indicate 2 out 3 children will remain in the bottom 40% of the poverty quintile their entire lives; their chances at economic mobility nonexistent.
We live in America, where the very idea of the American Dream is the equal opportunity of a person’s highest dreams and goals to be achieved. In essence, being born into poverty is a denial of the American Dream. Just as wealth is a continuation of the passage of hope and dreams for the wealthy. Poverty is a perpetuation of the hopelessness and challenges that have plagued disadvantaged populations for a lifetime; specifically, the African American community. It is longstanding and it is deep-rooted.
How does Rise 2 Thrive Family Resource Center change the trajectory of disadvantaged families? How do we help families and ultimately impact children?
By eliminating barriers and creating access to opportunities, by impacting their environments and their families and by combating the determinants that impact whether someone makes it out of poverty: early care and education, college and career readiness and child and family stability. All of which are core focus areas for Rise 2 Thrive.
At Rise 2 Thrive Family Resource Center, a nonprofit organization, we help parents rise, so their children can thrive. We want to break generational cycles of family trauma and poverty.
We are an organization committed to addressing the why behind the why. We know people are poor. We know we have communities that experience barriers to economic mobility, as well as family trauma that surfaces as family dysfunction. Our aim is not to bandage the issues, but to go beyond the surface and create sustainable change.
Our mission is to improve outcomes for children and families by creating access to opportunities and eliminating barriers to economic mobility through education, advocacy, skills training and empowerment.
We envision a world where families are able to enhance their quality of life and break generational cycles of poverty and family trauma to raise healthy, thriving children.
Learn more about ways you can join the movement of Rise 2 Thrive and partner with us to break generational cycles.