The theme that our Vista Leader presented to us for April’s blog is to use our service year with AmericorpVISTA to “Bust the Myths of Poverty.” So, I want to talk about the one common myth that is widely spread and often believed by certain members of society. That being, all poor people are lazy.
Now, I am not an expert, and may never be an expert on the causes of poverty, but what I can tell you is that this poverty myth is simply untrue. Through my service and my work with SEEED I have met some of the most hardworking and eager individual’s I may ever meet. What I have come to realize is that the major factors that contribute to and keep the people we serve in poverty are mostly out of their control. Even the location in which some of these young people live play a significant role in their income mobility.
Now, some of the biggest issues I have noticed include the lack of transportation, struggling school systems, and negative social capital.
Just a few days ago one of our student’s girlfriend and his daughter were jumped and robbed in the middle of a training session. What did this student do? He did what any concerned father and boyfriend would do. He stood up and left in the middle of training and went to comfort his daughter and significant other.
Yet, examples like this are not outliers, they are often occurrences in these low-income communities. Conversely, he is one of the few students of our program that actually has reliable transportation. Imagine the student who does not have reliable transportation and consider the “adventure” he or she must go through every day just to get to SEEED’s program.
What I can tell you is that when the students are here they are active, eager, and hardworking. If somebody were to ask me what I learned from my year of service I would simply tell them that we as people should shy away from making quick judgments on certain communities, and instead try to understand and empathize with our fellow human beings.
Nevertheless, the students of our Career Readiness Program have been hard at work the past couple of weeks canvasing neighborhoods, learning valuable skills, educating community members, and GETTING JOBS! So, I want to leave you with some photos of our students hard at work. Enjoy.