National Youth Summit regarding the War on Poverty

By: Chaz – 6th Grader & JHF Junior Advisory Board Member

I was fortunate to attend a National Youth Summit regarding the War on Poverty hosted nationally by theNational Museum of American History – Smithsonian Institution & regionally by History Miami on April 28th 2015 in Miami, Florida.

The speakers were:
Dr. Shed Boren, CEO of Camillus House
Paco Velez, Executive Director, Feeding South Florida
Joshua Williams, Founder & President of Joshua’s Heart Foundation
Moderator: District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava

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The central questions guiding the conversation were as follow:

What does poverty look like today?
Why is poverty bad for the country?
How are people addressing poverty today?
What would you do to address poverty?

This is my view;
To many people, poverty is a state of being extremely poor. To me poverty is way beyond just being poor. Poverty is about not having enough money to meet basic needs, which includes food, clothing, money, and shelter.

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What poverty today looks like? Yes poverty has changed, but so has the world around us. I am fortunate child. My parents can afford expensive tools such as a computer and cell phones and items I consider non
expensive but sometimes the things that don’t cost much to some people are item others can’t even afford like a pack of pencils or markers for school. The basic picture people normally visualize in their head when you ask them what poverty is maybe a man or woman that sits on the sidewalk with a cup and a sign that says “Need money, have kids, lost my job.’’ We all know that poverty doesn’t just exist in the U.S.; poverty is all around the world. Families have to go without food for several days in some countries like Romania, Finland, Denmark, Spain and right in our neighborhoods in Miami. This is just the start of what poverty looks like in the modern days.

How do people address poverty? It’s simple. You could collect money and donate it to a homeless shelter, don’t just spread the word throughout the community spread the word by putting up posters in school. One year my sister and I put a massive box in front of our school office to collect food. I didn’t really think that people would actually donate. Lets face it, do you actually think about poverty ever day? It turned out we needed even more boxes because the first one couldn’t fit the amount of food put in it. This distribution helped students in my school realize the importance of helping out the less fortunate. You can make a difference by addressing this problem.

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What can I do to address poverty? I volunteered ever since the age of five at Joshua’s Heart, a non-profit organization that packages a basic breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snacks. I had the chance to interact
with the less fortunate and really know what they have been through. Volunteering has helped me to understand how some people live in poverty and struggle daily to find food. I hope my volunteering service at Joshua’s Heart has an impact on the people that struggle and they realize they are not alone. Hopefully I can make a difference in someone’s life.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

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