"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Currently Reading: Bridges Out of Poverty by Phil DeVol

Hello again! I am currently on book 3 of my goal. My goal is to read one Non-Fiction book a month. Dave Ramsey says, "If you want to be skinny, study skinny people. If you want to be rich, do what lots of rich people do, not what some myth-sayer says to do." Apparently rich people read, on average, one non-fiction book a month, so I thought I would try it.

This book has a lot of things packed in it. I might have to summarize each chapter separately just to unpack all of it.

Here is a summary of what I've learned so far from the book, as well as from working with the program. (I'm only on Chapter 1.)

Bridges Out of Povery is a program that the YWCA supports that helps bring bring women out of the cycle of generational poverty. The program is for 3 hours once a week, for 13 weeks, and helps the women gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a Middle Class environment. The YWCA also trains business leaders and managers in poverty, so they can better understand their employees and help them succeed.

Dr. Ruby Payne’s Bridges out of Poverty book brings to the forefront a major problem in America. When children grow up together in poverty it forms a bond that is almost unbreakable in them. Children begin to believe that there is no way out for them. They start to follow the example of their parents and continue the cycle of poverty with their children. Parents are finding themselves unable to support their families. Proper health care and high education are often seen as unachievable. The cycle of poverty will never end unless someone does something about it.

Poverty is defined in the book as the "extent to which an individual does with out resources." Generation Poverty is defined as having been in poverty for at least two generations. Situational Poverty is defined as a lack of resources due to a particular event, such as a death, illness, divorce, etc. Often the attitude in generational poverty is that society owes them a living. In situational poverty the attitude is often one of pride and a refusal to accept charity.

Dr. Ruby Payne’s book is a starting point where one can develop accurate models of poverty, middle class, and wealth. It is a new lens by which we can see and learn from each other. The more people know about poverty, the better chance there is to get people out of it.

There are hidden rules of class that are unspoken cues and habits of the group. Being physically able to fight or having someone else fight for you is important to survival for people in poverty. However, in middle class, being able to use words as tools to negotiate conflict is essential. Teaching people in poverty how to use words is one of the first steps the Bridge out of Poverty. Another difficulty in getting out of poverty is the ability to manage and save money. People in poverty tend to be thinking in the moment, so when they get money or other resources they spend them.

The idea of using money for security and wealth building is mainly seen in the middle and wealthy classes. Relationships are often more important then anything else for people in poverty. Relationships are seens as one of the resources they can't do without. If they come into extra money, they are more likely to give it to a friend in need, then buy something for themself. They see it as an insurance policy of sorts, because if they were ever in need, they would want the person to return the favor.

Being careful not to make assumptions about different classes is often difficult. Many people find themselves in the same class their parents were in so that is all they know about.

There is hope for those in poverty if everyone works together.

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