Broad Shoulders Update

news and information for cmun dev advocates in metropolitan Chicago

Archive for the ‘health care’ tag

Did you miss these? (December 20, 2008)

without comments

A recape of this week’s equity news

 ”Poverty off political radar,” - Washington Times
Edwards’ issue seen as ‘casualty’ of indiscretion

Believers in John Edwards are urging President-elect Barack Obama to forgive the former presidential candidate’s indiscretions and consider him for an administration post or at least elevate Mr. Edwards’ signature issue of poverty.

Friends, former aides and even the Virginia man whom Mr. Edwards made central to his fight for universal health care say the Democrat should be given another chance.

Leaner nations bike, walk, use mass transit,” - Associated Press
Link found between ‘active transportation’ and less obesity in 17 countries

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jim Richards is no kid, but he loves to ride his bike. At 51, he has become a cycling commuter, pedaling 11 miles from his home in the suburbs to his job in downtown Knoxville.

“It really doesn’t take that much longer” than driving, he insists.

And he gets 40 minutes of exercise twice a day without going to the gym, which he attributes to a 20-pound weight loss.

 ”North Texas Food Bank program gives kids healthy snacks for the weekend,” - The Dallas Morning News

Hundreds of kids eagerly line up in the James Bowie Elementary School gym after lunch every Friday, wearing their blue backpacks open against their stomachs.

Five-year-old Agustin Granados stood at the front of the line last week to receive his sack of nutritious snacks for the weekend from the North Texas Food Bank. His school, James Bowie Elementary in north Oak Cliff, is one of 269 that participate in the Food 4 Kids program. One by one, physical education teacher Sharon Foster fills each of their packs with a plastic grocery bag full of food. The milk, cereal, crackers and other nutritious snacks come through the North Texas Food Bank and are intended to keep the kids from going hungry over the weekend, when they can’t rely on school breakfasts or lunches.”Thank you, coach,” they say as they zip up their packs.

Weekly Poverty News 10/20- 10/26

without comments

Written by archive

October 27th, 2008 at 11:30 am

Fourth Generation Poverty

without comments

Written by Teri McKean, MSW, LSW with ABC Counseling and Family Services in Champaign, Illinois.

Teri is a wife and mother of two girls. She formerly worked in Carterville, IL as a case manager but after completing her MSW at the University of Illinois at Chicago in May 2008, Teri and her family moved to Champaign, IL where she is a sexual abuse counselor for children.

I walked into their trailer and am appalled. I didn’t expect expensive furnishings or beautiful artwork, but what I find is filth. No, not filth, just the result of years of hand-me-downs, throw-outs, leftovers and junk. This family is third generation poor. They rent this trailer for $100 a month. The couch was found at the end of someone’s driveway and their kitchen table is missing a leg. Old newspapers act as insulation in the windows. The mother excuses the trailer, stating “I just don’t know where to start anymore.” It’s only her and her daughter, but they have a staggering amount of stuff. Her daughter has told me that mother is too anxious to get rid of anything. “If we throw out something, we might need it in a month for cash.” Everything is viewed as a possible way to make a few extra bucks. Mother struggles to make ends meet with her disability check and food stamps. They don’t have enough to keep insurance on their car, much less gas to get the 2 miles to town and back, so they take back roads and hope the car stays together so they can get groceries. Mother and daughter often miss counseling, case management and doctor appointments because they just can’t get there.

When asked if there are family members to help, Mother remarks, “They are just as poor as we are, just in California, not Illinois.” She mentions the father of her daughter, but admits she is too proud to go to him. He sent a few letters over the years, but he was violent and abusive; she’d rather not let him back into their lives. He could afford to help, and by rights, should pay child support, but it’s just too much trouble.

The daughter is barely making it to school three times a week, and has recently indulged in pot for the first time. She’s 13. Already, she has decided her fate is to be poor, so she has given up. Why continue her education to work at the local fast food restaurant and maybe make enough to pay for her gas back and forth? She has remarked on numerous occasions, “I’ll just get a check and some food stamps too, as soon as I have a kid.”

Where did the system fail them? Why is the third and now fourth generation of this family so accepting of their poverty? I saw families like this all over southern Illinois from Cairo to Carterville to Chester. I saw them in Chicago and I see them now in Champaign. Poverty does not affect one area of the state, it is widespread and their stories, while unique, are so similar. The common theme is the disenfranchisement and the lack of involvement that people in poverty have with the system that should help them. Asking the mother above to suggest changes to the food stamp program would make her laugh. She would not believe anyone in government or public policy would care. We need to find a way to care and to prove to those people receiving services that we do. Nothing will get better until that occurs.

Teri McKean, MSW, LSW

Champaign, IL