Traveling to build new curricula

June 6, 2016
Travelling across the state for focus groups. Here we are in Tillamook with some new friends!
Trav­el­ing across the state for focus groups, mak­ing some new friends along the way!

We have been work­ing in poverty aware­ness edu­ca­tion for almost 5 years now.  We have inter­viewed numer­ous indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­enc­ing poverty and I am con­stantly in awe of the amount of hard­ships and strengths that are revealed to us.

CoAc­tive Con­nec­tions is cur­rently work­ing to develop new cur­ric­ula focus­ing on spe­cific aspects of the poverty expe­ri­ence across Ore­gon.  In order to inform that cur­ricu­lum, we recently trav­eled to both East­ern Ore­gon and the Cen­tral Ore­gon Coast for focus groups with folks expe­ri­enc­ing poverty. A major­ity of the folks we inter­viewed were par­ents of young kids.

Many talked about how they wanted the best for their kids, they were work­ing hard to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment to fos­ter pros­per­ous, happy, well edu­cated young adults. If I did not know their eco­nomic back­ground and had a con­ver­sa­tion with these folks about their hopes for their kids and needs at their schools, I would have no idea they were expe­ri­enc­ing poverty.

The truth is, they have to work so much harder to make their hopes a real­ity than any mid­dle or upper class Ore­gon­ian, yet they are striv­ing for the same out­comes for their chil­dren that most of us share.  They have social and eco­nomic bar­ri­ers that a major­ity of Ore­go­ni­ans don’t even imag­ine or con­sider.  And they face them daily.

Per­son­ally, I am extremely grate­ful to be in this work, and to have the oppor­tu­nity to be hum­bled daily.

-Lori Beamer, Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions and Outreach

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  • The training taught me to “manage what I have better and be more aware of the stress level it causes to not be able to meet ‘your’ needs.” (Poverty Awareness Training participant)