Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 11.4.15 – Helping People Out Of Poverty


If you have a middle class background, the thought process regarding people getting out of poverty likely includes something like this: “Why don’t they just get a job?”

I don’t think that thought is wrong. Maybe it’s just incomplete.

Just getting a job for people in poverty, especially those in generational poverty, presents no simple task. And for those without knowledge of the challenge, it can bring a lot of confusion and frustration.

To those curious about the topic or finding yourself in the “frustrated” category, let me share something I heard recently.

Studies of those making it out of generation poverty provide some good insight. One of the most common factors of those no longer in poverty was the presence of a mentor or meaningful relationship with someone not in poverty.

I recently attended a walk through of our local middle school. Community partners are working with the school to make opportunities for  community volunteers to help middle school students…simply by their presence and basic involvement.

Here’s more. Last Friday, I attended the graduation of a class of people who had gone through a week of training with a local organization. They regularly train people, building employment knowledge, skills, and support through a week-long class. Someone in the class missed the graduation . . . it’s not what you think. They missed because they had been hired!

A theme that ran throughout the graduation? The need for those seeking to get out of poverty to have . . . a mentor. Someone ready to tell them to go back to work when they want to quit. Someone to give a ride to work if the car breaks down. Someone to provide a word of encouragement when you get insurance for the first time, as one of the former graduates had just achieved at her job!

The bottom line? Like much in life, leaving poverty is complex. And, it’s difficult. And, not everyone in poverty wants to live off the government. And, whether a child or young adult at risk, the course of their life can change – if people are willing to treat them like people.

Think. What thoughts come automatically when you think about poverty?

Act. If you’re interested and in the Akron area, I could link you to either of the two opportunities I mentioned, as well as others. Otherwise, follow the advice of a missionary who visited our church a few years ago: get to know someone in poverty. Somehow, our preconceived notions come crumbling down when we get to know someone we’re likely to stereotype.

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