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Our Children, Our Future

Issues in this session

What is child poverty? Poverty, child poverty, education, poor families, communities of concentrated poverty, child development

 

The Message

More than 1 in 5 children in this country live in poverty. Many of these children do not have the most basic elements they need for physical and emotional health. Children who are hungry, who lack adequate medical care, who live in substandard housing and go to substandard schools are often doomed as adults to repeating the cycle of poverty with their own children.

 

The Process

The session opens with input from the participants about what they believe are essential needs for children to develop normally. A second list of Extras is also added to the responses on a flipchart.

Children’s Discovery Cards, which are included in the toolkit, are shared revealing how many children in many communities of concentrated poverty are denied even essential developmental needs like food, medical care and basic safety.

The discussion is followed by a viewing of the Our Children, Our Future video in which children living in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood share their photographs and give their accounts of living in poverty. This video is an extraordinary view of childhood poverty by the children themselves.

A return to the Children’s Discovery Cards reveals that for every problem the children experience there are solutions that are available, whether they be by personal involvement, program development or by changing public policy. There are also action steps suggested in the handout: “Eight Things You Can Do.”

 

Try Me!

To get a feel for this session, take a piece of paper and a pencil and make a list of what you think children need to develop as normal children. You can divide the list into "Essentials" and "Extras" if you like. When your list is done, watch the clip of the Our Children, Our Future video (3:40). When the video is done look at your list and see what "Essentials" and which "Extras" are missing from the lives of the children. Finally, ask yourself what could be done, what could you do to help children growing up in these circumstances?