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As a former foster child, my passion is advocating for and with foster care youth, publicizing the challenges that they face and addressing their developmental and emotional needs through workshops.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why programs like Getting Ahead and Bridges Out of Poverty are so very important

 Quotes about growing up in poverty from Joe Queenan's autobiographical book, Closing Time:  

  • "All but the most perceptive of children find poverty incomprehensible, because poverty is idiotic. Further confusing the issues is the fact that poverty comes in several distinct varieties. From the start, my sisters and I had trouble figuring out which branch of indigence we were experiencing... Mostly what we endured was intermittent deprivation - poverty, yes, but not abject destitution." 

  • "The poverty my family experienced was grinding, dull and monotonous - the traditional one-size fits all, no-frills variety. We did not have enough food. We rarely ate fresh fruit or vegetables; everything came out of a can. We had crummy toys....wore hand-me-down clothes and shoes that did not fit... did not have a car (or) telephone."

  •  "Poverty, conceptually as well as viscerally, suffers from a mythology concocted by those who were never poor." 

  • "Libertarians, self-made men, and sage pundits believe that money can make any problem disappear, that if one merely puts enough cash into the hands of the poor, they would draw on the prodigious reserves of wisdom and enterprise they'd been clandestinely stockpiling for so many years and make all the right choices needed to turn their lives around." 

  • "Adherents to this school of thought have difficulty grasping that poverty is as much as state of mind as an economic condition, a pathology that encourages the poor to make bad decisions... Poverty becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy." 

  • "It might not be your fault that you were born poor, but somewhere along the way, you've certainly mastered the art of behaving like a poor person." 

  • "Poverty goes beyond not having money or food. Poverty means that when you do have money and food, the money gets spent unwisely, and the food is not nutritious."

  • "Poverty is not simply a matter of being able to buy certain things; it's about buying the wrong things, or the things that nobody wants. It's about off-brand shoes, off-brand underwear, off-brand socks, off-brand ice cream, off-brand appliances, off-brand roach killer. 

  •  "It's about sneakers that fall apart the third time you drive to the basket, shoes held together with adhesive tape, shirts that start out as XLs but end up as Mediums the first time they're laundered. It's about socks that aren't worth mending, jeans that  aren't worth patching, appliances that aren't worth fixing..." 

  • (in the author's point-of-view:) "Poor people behave stupidly because poverty is a finishing school where children learn how to be stupid."

  • "Growing up poor teaches young people to buy clothing that shrinks, appliances that break, furniture the disintegrates, food that provides no nutrition - and, if possible, to overpay for it."

  • "Poverty is a tumor it takes a lifetime to excise, because poverty is lodged inside the brain in a dark corner where the poor don't want to look."

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