Breaking the Chain of Poverty

“Chronic poverty in rural areas, and urban areas for that matter, represents long-term neglect and lack of investment—a lack of investment in people as well as communities,” the PEN Weekly Newsblast summarized a recent interview with Cynthia Duncan, author of Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America. The interview was conducted by Frontline, which recently aired the documentary Country Boys, about two young men growing up in rural Appalachia.
“We know the investments in kids’ early education, youth’s engagement, stability of parents’ work and income make a difference,” said Duncan in the interview. So does “figuring out ways to expose people, especially kids, to another way of doing things and another set of aspirations for themselves that may be the root of starting a turnaround…I found that in both Appalachia and the Delta, the kids who made it were those who had mentors who believed in them, that when a young girl or boy would get special attention from a coach or teacher or an aunt or an uncle, it could make a big difference in the kind of decisions that he or she made going forward.”