There are so many ways to offer support for those in need. Here are different methods we use to increase the level of support around issues associated with understanding those that might be labeled poor or working poor.
We can bring an authentic discussion about issues relating to poverty with a Guest Speaker who has struggled to make ends meet and was able to “pick herself up by her boot straps.” It is through these eyes and experiences that a group can come to understand what happens, good or bad, as a person struggles for basic survival.
To move out of poverty the support network needs to be like a circle surrounding the person until they have the resources available to allow them to reach out for those at any time. The resource bucket needs to be “overflowing” so a person can tap into it when a problem arises.
Ask yourself this question, “What would I do if my job was eliminated due to industry changes?” Can I find another job, do I have enough funds to support me in the meantime, or can I afford to move to a new location to find another job?
It is only through positive relationships that a person can learn what they have not experienced. An example might be if parents (or even relatives) did not go through college, it would be important to discuss the resources needed to change a student's life.
It is through the help of others that learning to navigate in an educational world can be possible. Malcolm Gladwell in this book Outliers describes what it is like to pursue college, even for a highly intelligent person.
Be a mentor or support someone that is trying to change their life.
Develop a book club style approach to discussing poverty, where each person reads the same book and develops questions that guide the discussion. This is a safe and easy method to invoke conversations.
Questions can come from the books (most of the time these can be found online) or the group can address issues/questions which they are dealing with.
A couple of our favorite books for group discussions are:
These books are great examples about how “working” your way out of poverty is not easy, even if you have an education and some financial beginnings.
If you serve, or know of an agency that could use support developing resources for those with limited access, please contact us.