Listening to People in Need: 5 Lessons for America
Ever wonder what it really takes for a person to bring his or her family out of poverty? Ever ponder why a low-income kid in your city doesn’t just study harder? Why the cashier at the drugstore doesn’t go to school at night to qualify for a higher-paying career? Why low-wage jobs are often hard to fill?
This past year, we’ve been asking low-income adults what challenge or opportunity they’re facing and what it would take for them to overcome it and continue on towards their goals. In the process, we’ve learned a great deal about what Americans in need need to help them move forward towards stability.
Additional Supporting Materials
- Why do low-wage workers still need support? Food stamps? Energy subsidies? Housing assistance? Subsidized Child Care? If people have jobs, why are we still providing this sort of support? We'll look to learn from Stacy why she needed help getting beds for her sons when she was working as a waitress. http://www.benevolent.net/need.html?needId=126
- If there are jobs available, how can someone complain that there are none? What does it really take to qualify, get and keep a job when you're living on the edge? Tools, uniforms, bus fare, certifications - these are all things that can get in the way of initial employment. Then keeping a job comes with its own raft of challenges. We'll look to John to teach us about what it took to get him through his 90-day probation period at his new job: http://www.benevolent.net/need.html?needId=160
- Why don't low-income kids and parents focus on education? Some kids have computers at home, home-packed lunches, someone to pick them up if they stay late for school activities of extra help. Many kids don't. Melissa's story will help us learn what it was like for her when she took in her little sisters and had to be sure they were ready to head off to school: http://www.benevolent.net/need.html?needId=121
- Why would someone risk their job by showing up late? Bus fare, car repair, train schedules, kids in multiple schools, sisters to take to chemo, we've seen it all. Tasha's story will shine a light on how transportation and the location of services can undermine or threaten employment: http://www.benevolent.net/need.html?needId=109
- What would it look like if low-income Americans could set their goals, steer towards them, get help overcoming hurdles, and know that people out there believed in them? When we listen to striving Americans who have goals and dreams that will bring their families out of poverty, we learn about gaps in our policies, approaches and systems and about what we could be doing differently. If we want to change economic inequality, we can start by listening to and believing in our neighbors.
- Megan Kashner Benevolent
Megan Kashner Benevolent
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