By many figures, the United States is the wealthiest country in the world. Yet when we look closer, and many of us do not need to look far, we realize this fact can gloss over some very harsh reality. Poverty in the US is real and it reaches all corners of our society. But what makes this issue even more glaring is the percentage of children living in poverty. Here are some facts and figures to help you get your head around the problem:
1 in 5 children living in the US lives in poverty
Children represent 23 percent of the overall population yet 33 percent of all those living in poverty
69, 64 and 63 percent of Black, American Indian and Hispanic children live in poverty
The United States ranks 26th in the world in terms of preschool participation and 21st in terms of early childhood education investment.
These kids are being left behind. Plain and simple. Many of these children live in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston, which are home to some of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. Some point to the difference between absolute and relative poverty as an indicator of inflated statistics, but the reality is that income inequality in the Unites States is reaching levels unseen in the rest of the industrialized world. These children are helpless to their situation and if nothing is done will become just another victim of their circumstances. This cannot continue.
Our work with children in poverty is meant to help these children realize that there is hope. They may have been dealt a bad hand, but with guidance and mentoring, they can escape this cycle of poverty and see that the world is there for them to realize their potential. There are limitless possibilities, but they just need someone to show them the way.
Simple enjoyment such as holiday parties, afternoons in the park and sports can give these children the chance to connect with people and to know that they are not forgotten. These types of events also give volunteers the chance to connect with people that are different from them and to empathize with their situation.
This is the work we do at Coupla Guys and Gals Give Back. By connecting people and causes we are helping to open doors and to start the process of combating this terrible phenomenon.