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