Did you ever go home after school to find your home wasn’t there anymore? I don’t mean the house was missing, but all your stuff was gone and your parents whisked you off to another community. Many families in our rural areas are living this way, so students are falling behind in school because our schools are not on the same teaching schedules. Reading levels drop and students struggle. Their risk of dropping out raises with every move, and the cycle of poverty continues.
Why do families move every couple of months? Often the answer is: to skip out on bills.
We can help families stay put and break these cycles of poverty if we help parents take steps toward raising their income. Does your community offer GED/HiSET programs and is anyone providing scholarships? What about help with resumes and interview skills or training in work ethic and job skills?
Does your church know any tradesmen & women who would be willing to take on an apprentice or a farmer in need of a hand? Can your church help cover the cost of trade school or a needed certification? I don’t mean that you should just pay these bills, but agree on a portion that will make reaching their goal possible, and perhaps pay a little bit with each milestone (a portion of the total for each day they attend class, for example).
Once they have a job with a steady income, they’ll need help learning to manage their money well. Perhaps someone in your congregation knows how to develop and use a budget, and would be willing to teach others.
Oh, yeah, and in the meantime, they are going to need assistance managing the money they do have so they can stay put long enough to get the training they need that will help boost their income. (It may require some collaboration with their landlord and other services to keep food on the table and utilities turned on as well.)
It sounds like a difficult task and a lot of work, but start with one family who desires to make a change in the way they’ve been living. Find out what their needs are and walk with them through the process. It is far easier to train the children if we can stop the parents from reinforcing a poverty inducing lifestyle. Otherwise we can tell children to stay in school and live honestly, but no one will be there to help them accomplish these things.
“The people will no longer quote this proverb: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’ All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.” -Jeremiah 31:29-30