Columbia Agencies Look to Solve Poverty Problem Early

6 years 2 months 6 days ago Thursday, August 08 2013 Aug 8, 2013 Thursday, August 08, 2013 12:20:00 PM CDT August 08, 2013 in News
By: Angie Bailey, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

BOONE COUNTY - Some Columbia community organizations are banding together to intervene in the lives of youth and break a cycle of increasing poverty. 

The latest census numbers show poverty is a prevalent problem in Mid-Missouri and affects one out of every five Columbians. 

From 2000 to 2010, Boone County's population grew twenty percent. In that same decade, the number of kids living in poverty in and around Columbia jumped 49 percent.

Some local agencies like the United Way strive to make poor children and their families a priority when they make budget decisions. The United Way told KOMU 8 News it makes youth a priority because of numerous research studies that show communities are more likely to make a positive impact on the lives of the poor if they invest in underprivileged youth at an early age. 

At the Blind Boone Center, free summer camp programs offer a guaranteed lunch. Kids are allowed to eat as much as they want, and they can take home anything others do not want.

Veronica Martinez works with dozens of children each weekday at the summer camps.

"A lot of them come out of single parent homes. Their mom is at work, or their dad," Martinez said. "It's free, they know they're safe and out of harms way. They know they're going to get a good snack, a good meal at least, and education behind it most of all."

Organizers said the summer camps offer educational programming because the research finds that when kids from poor communities "plug in" to education, they have a much higher chance of learning skills that can help them rise above the conditions 

The U.S. Census Bureau, the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual "Kids Count" report and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Child Well-Being report all show early childhood education is heavily correlated with reduced poverty rates, reduced teen pregnancy, reduced substance abuse and lower drop-out rates. 

Cathy Cox, a Benton Elementary School home school coordinator said, "What's sad is a lot of kids who come from poorer families, a lot of times don't learn how to not be poor. The life skills are very different. They learn manipulation, how to ask, how to beg, how to barrow. It's how to do whatever you can, under the table."

School districts often use the number of students who qualify for free and reduced as a benchmark for figuring out how many kids are living at or near the poverty line. The most recent numbers show 38 percent of kids in the Columbia School District qualify and 80 percent of the students at Benton Elementary do. At Core, an alternative school, 77 percent of students qualify. At West Boulevard Elementary, 73 percent of students qualify. Further, more than 60 percent of students at Alpha Hart, Blue Ridge, Field and Parkade Elementaries qualify and so 60 percent of the students at Douglas High School, the district's alternative high school. 

Standardized test scores are an important indicator of academic performance. In Columbia, students receiving free or reduced lunches do not perform as well as the students whose bellies are more likely to be full. 

"We've failed our families for looking ahead to the future and beyond right now," Cox said.

Organizations like the United Way and Missouri Community Action are pumping money and resources into intervening early on behalf of kids living in poverty, all in hope of starting to turn poverty numbers around.

The organizations note that if kids can hang on in the end, some of them will have a better shot at getting out of poverty in their lifetime. According to the Missouri Housing Authority, every ten dollars committed to early childhood education leads to seventy dollars in future economic benefit.

 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order Tuesday to create a campaign to educate, warn, and deter... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 1:32:00 PM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (KSHB) — You never know what you'll encounter as a police officer. One day, you may walk... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:47:00 PM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who is on a record-breaking pace during the first half of the season, and Wisconsin running... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:10:00 PM CDT October 15, 2019 in Sports
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana authorities say an improvised explosive device blew up in an elementary school playground in Helena.... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 11:07:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A Moberly man pleaded guilty to a federal charge of aggravated identity theft and will be sentenced in... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 10:44:41 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- When it comes to concussions in high school sports, there is good news and bad news, a new... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:29:48 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Turkey defied growing condemnation from its NATO allies to press ahead with its invasion of northern... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 5:45:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas City T-Bones are officially locked out of their stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 4:48:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is trying to slow drivers down on two streets in the downtown area. ... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 3:56:00 AM CDT October 15, 2019 in News
CAMDENTON — Camdenton City Clerk Renee Kingston didn't fall for a traffic violation scam. Kingston said she received two... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 7:50:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A father was shot with his four children in his car while driving in south... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 7:36:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education will discuss modifications to the public comment section of its meetings Monday night.... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 5:13:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The CEO of Dow Inc. has donated $6 million to a new University of Missouri health institute... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 12:49:00 PM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA — The city of Centralia held its first monthly meeting on public safety Monday night since the firing of... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 11:51:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
KEYTESVILLE- A mid-Missouri father filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the man accused of causing his disabled daughter's death... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 11:21:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A local group wants to expand the Jefferson City National Cemetery by relocating East Miller Park across... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 10:25:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
ROCHEPORT - The Columbia/ Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is opening community-based pop up flu clinics... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 10:20:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Moms Demand Action is partnering with Stop the Bleed Coalition to hold crisis first aid training on... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 3:40:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
4pm 64°
5pm 63°
6pm 60°
7pm 56°