Project Connect is returning October 15,2014!
Our next Project Connect event is a month away. It is on Wednesday, October 15 2014, from 12:00pm to 4:00 pm at the Kalamazoo Expo Center. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer or service provider go to: http://projectconnectkalamazoo.blogspot.com/. Hope to see you there!
Kalamazoo Ranks Highest in Michigan for the Poverty Rate of African-American Children under 18
Our partner at the Lewis Walker Institute shared with us this child poverty rate chart. The research was done in 2010 and shows that Kalamazoo has the highest rate of African-American children under 18 years old living in poverty. Seventy-four percent are living in poverty, which means Kalamazoo is higher than Flint and Detroit. Does this surprise you? Let us know your thought in the comments.
New Poverty Data from the Census Bureau and Half in Ten
Yesterday the U.S. Census Bureau released 2012 state- and district-level poverty data from the American Community Survey. Half in Ten: The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years has posted an interactive map of the data on their site. The map below displays the data by congressional district. In district 6, which includes Kalamazoo, 18% of the population live in poverty and 23% of children live in poverty. Does this surprise you? To view a map with the poverty data broken down by district, click here.
Scoring Congress's Record on Poverty
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law put together a scorecard that rates the members of congress. It stated, “the Senate generally prevented the House of Representatives from doing too much harm to programs affecting people living in poverty in 2012, but very little was accomplished to reduce poverty or advance justice.” Lawmakers who support initiatives that help those in poverty initiate change. It is interesting to see how Michigan representatives have voted for the different initiatives. Look at the complete report here and let us know your thoughts.
May 2013 Project Connect Report
Below is the May 2013 Project Connect Report. You can download the file by clicking the download file button below.
The American Educational System's Negative Impact on Low-income Students
Bob Sornson wrote an article for MLive.com that discusses the American educational system and its effect on low-income students. Bob writes, "For poor children the rates of learning success are abysmally low. Unsuccessful early learners are consigned to live without the skills that open the doors to opportunity and success. They are systematically prepared to be disengaged learners and low-wage earners." The graph above that compliments the article shows the reading level of low-income students in 4th grade. To read the full article go here. We at KPRI promote educational equity as a way to decrease poverty. How do you feel about the American educational system's effect on low-income students and poverty? Leave your comments below.
McDonald's Budget Fails in Comparison to Realities for Employees.
McDonald's has created a planning budget to show employees how they can live off of their wages. CNN has counteracted with real budgets of McDonald's employees that shows the shortcomings of the planning budget. The sample budget does not include food, transportation, clothing, and heat. In addition, it only includes $20/month for health insurance when the cheapest health plan McDonald's offers is $50/month. Finally, the plan assumes its employees have two jobs. Compare the McDonald's plan to that of its employees by looking at the article here, and tell us what you think. Do you believe that the sample budget is fair and accurate? Do you think you and your family could survive on the budget?
The Issue of Transportation
The Michigan League for Public Policy has a great article about the issue of transportation. Many low-income families have financial hardships due to unforeseen costs of repairs for their cars. Christina explains that she is having trouble paying her taxes and students loans because she had to buy a new transmission for her car. Read the rest of the article here.How do you think we can help the issue of transportation in Michigan and Kalamazoo?
America Receives an F in Financial Literacy
Take a look at the Today Show's article about financial literacy. Financial literacy is a huge problem in the U.S. We at KPRI try to work with financial institutions and community agencies to provide financial literacy. We believe that financial literacy will help those in poverty. Please read the full article here. Don't forget to take the 5-question quiz the Investor Education Foundation gave their participants for the study and let us know how you did! You can take the quiz here. One of our staff answered 3 correct, 1 incorrect, and 1 I don't know, it's not as easy as it seems! Also if you would like help with financial literacy our partner Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan has some great programs!
College Expenses Have an Impact on Completion
CLASP has an article out that describes the current landscape of rising college costs, financial pressures on students to work more, and the negative impact this has on completion. Why do think that high post-secondary educational costs can have an impact students completing college? We believe having affordable education is essential in helping those in poverty. Do you agree? Read the full article here.
No Rich Child Left Behind.
The New York Times wrote an article about the disparities in educational performance amongst kids from upper class backgrounds and kids from middle or lower class backgrounds. Here are the charts they provided showing how income level affects educational performance. We at KPRI believe in educational equity and that quality education is the best way to reduce poverty. What do you think about the disparities and how can we change them? Take a look at the full article here.
MLPP Shows the Deep Racial Disparities Amongst Children
The Fiscal Year 2014 budget has been signed by the governor. Despite some exciting wins for low-income children and families, deep and persistent disparities based on race, ethnicity and income remain largely untouched, a new report concludes. Tell us what you thin.! Read the full article here.
Poverty in the U.S. by State from Index Mundi
Here is a map showing Michigan at 14.8% poverty compared to the rest of the U.S. Index Mundi also shows each county by state. Kalamazoo County is at 18.4%. What do you think about these numbers? Staying informed can only help us to reduce these percentages!
MDRC'S Current and Recent Projects for Disconnected and Disadvantaged Youth.
Here is a list of MDRC's projects to help disconnected and disadvantaged youth. These programs mainly target three groups: at-risk high school students; dropouts disconnected from school and work; and system-involved youth at risk of disconnection, including youth exiting foster care and juvenile justice facilities. Some of them like SEEDS we have here in Michigan!
Could You Live Off of $7.25 an Hour?
NBC News had another great article for their In Plain Sight Series. This article discusses the difficulties of living on minimum wage. "About 3.6 million Americans were earning at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in 2012, and those weren’t all high school students flipping burgers. About half of them were 25 or older, a little more than one-third were working full time and a little less than three-fourths had graduated from high school, according to the most recent government data." We at KPRI believe that an increase minimum wage would help those in poverty and help the economy. What do you think about the minimum wage debate? Do you think you could live off of $7.25 per hour? Read the full article here.
The Importance of Head Start.
The 2014 State of Michigan and National budget proposals provided many resources to Head Start programs. Above is a video that discusses what the Head Start program provides. It explains the need for a program that helps students get a start with quality education and parents resources to provide for their families. Many studies have shown the positive impact that quality early childhood learning can have on its students. We at KPRI believe that providing quality early childhood education can give the community the tools it needs to reduce poverty. What do you think about this new emphasis on early childhood education?
The Reality of Poverty for College Students
NBC News shared this enlightening video about food banks on college campuses for their In Plain Sight: Spotlight on Poverty segment. It discusses the economic realities that college students are facing while they go to school. Many do not know the struggle students have in order to have food on the table. SNAP benefits have changed so students have to work 20 hours a week in order to get benefits. We are happy to see that some colleges are trying their best to help students by creating food pantries on campus for students. Do you think you could take 4 classes and work over 20 hours? This is the reality for many students. Please watch the video below and tell us your thoughts!
Students Uncover Realities of Poverty.
NBC News shared and discussed this fantastic video by two students from Troy. The video discusses the many realities of poverty in the U.S. and even focuses on Detroit, Michigan. The students, Jason Ji and Frank Boudon, make the case that the nation's poverty crisis could be solved by reforming education. We at KPRI could not agree more! Please take the time to look at the video here.
Thank you to Public Media Network for attending Project Connect!
Public Media Network attended our May Project Connect event and created the fantastic video below.
The 9th Annual Kalamazoo Charity Invitational!
We need your golf swing!
Kalamazoo Poverty Reduction needs your best golf swing because we will be a part the 9th annual Kalamazoo Charity Invitational! The event is Thursday June 27th at the Heritage Glenn Golf Club and it starts at 9am. The proceeds from the golf tournament can go to many of the non-profits in Kalamazoo including KPRI! The event is hosted by Ullrey and Co.and the registration deadline is June 21st! The day includes lunch, prizes, and dinner. The funds we receive from the event will help KPRI to maintain our programs that help educate the community about life in poverty.
There are four ways you can participate at the event:
1. Individual Golfer: $125
2. Hole/Tee Sponsor: $250
3. Golfing Foursome: $400
4. Corporate Sponsor: $550
To register you can call 269-382-5027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to tell them you want to donate to PRI! Deadline date for registering is June 21st!
Please help KPRI and have a great time.Thank you for your support!
The U.S. Receives Failing Grade for Child Poverty Rate in Comparison to World Leaders.
The U.S. surpasses many world leaders in child poverty according to the Conference Board of Canada. How can we rectify this situation? Read the full article here.