In the spirit of Blog Action Day’s focus on poverty, a shift in the normal topics for my blog, sort of.
Sometime last year I heard a piece on the radio focusing on homeless people in California and there was one family that stood out in my mind. This family had school-aged children and although they were homeless, they chose to live in a hilly area and spent what little money they had on a laptop computer so their children could do their homework at night by accessing a open internet bubble. They believed their children could break the circle of poverty if they could do well in school, to get a good education.
Is access to the internet integral to our students’ success in the classroom today? I think most would say yes. So what are we doing to ensure that access to our students? Are we making sure they know where their free access is? Public libraries, local colleges/universities or businesses that might give them access? We see free internet in so many places, the coffee shop, bookstore, even Bakers Square, but a computer is still needed.
Our school does allow students to check out laptop computers, and those laptops do have wireless cards in them, but do they know where to go? Schools need to be sure that our students have the access they need to meet the requirements we are putting forth – we can help break the cycle of poverty but only if we don’t discourage and overwhelm those who already face so many challenges.
Beyond access, there are issues food and shelter. While these are formidable issues, we can get involved. From donating time and food to places like Feed America to clicking to donate cups of food with The Hunger Site and Free Rice to knitting (or donating supplies to create) blankets (Warm Up America) for those in need, we can make a difference now.
Poverty affects us all, in the present and the future, and it does not take miracles to break the cycle.