The Struggling Economy Hits Kids the Hardest: How Can We Help?

This week was the last week of the term at PSU, and I held my final “Enhancing Youth Literacy” class with my community-based learning students who have been volunteering at a local K-8 school, a community center preschool, and an alternative high school program.  In an email and in class, I implored these students to continue volunteering in some capacity because we really need active community members, especially in times of financial crisis.  I showed them the Hands on Portland website.  I let them know that I would be a resource if they were looking for placements.  I hope that they will all continue to give back in the way that they have this term…because often, I think this is the only way to make a difference.

I recently read an article in the Oregonian about rising child poverty in the Portland area and the impact on our kids…there is a widening gap between the areas where resources are available and where they are not.  And kids are struggling as a result.

In a meeting at the grade school in my neighborhood, I was shocked to find out that over 80% of the students receive free or reduced lunch.  This is a staggering number.  And the New York Times also recently published a related article: “Line Grows Long for Free Meals in U.S. Schools.”

What can we do in our community to make sure no young people go hungry?  How can we participate in supporting young people in their struggle to bridge the achievement gap?

Please think about ways (even small ones) that you can give back to those who might be struggling right now.  Do check out handsonportland.org as a starting point for finding ways to be more active!

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