Columbia Agencies Look to Solve Poverty Problem Early

6 years 9 months 3 weeks 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 - Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order to declare a State of Emergency in Missouri because of... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 9:56:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A motorcycle driver is seriously injured after losing control of his motorcycle on Saturday. Around 3:40... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 6:06:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A new report shows black drivers were 95% more likely to be pulled over by Missouri... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:44:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As if trips to the grocery store weren’t nerve-wracking enough, U.S. shoppers lately have seen... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:25:41 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
KBIA - The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing announced today that they’re making clear, accessible masks... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:14:59 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fair Board is hosting a 4H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) Youth Fair... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:05:02 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN - The Daniel Boone Regional Library plans to reopen all buildings Wednesday. There will... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 4:52:40 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The US military on Friday ordered several police units to be ready for potential deployment to Minnesota as... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 4:41:14 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) — Protesters blocked a downtown St. Louis interstate and set a fire in the road... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 4:17:51 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 7-year-old boy and and his 6-year-old brother died in an unincorporated area east of Kansas... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 4:13:56 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -- Americans have finally sent their own up to space again. Saturday’s SpaceX-NASA launch of the Falcon 9 Rocket... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 3:01:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
DALLAS COUNTY – Two people drowned Friday night in a Dallas County creek. Richard Berthiaume swam into Lindley Creek... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 2:54:29 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Clip Joint Salon customer Andrea is grateful for how the company's confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were handled... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 2:30:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. ... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 2:21:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — MU's Office for Civil Rights & Title IX is investigating a Snapchat video that was widely criticized... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:51:48 PM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
ELDON - The Miller County Sheriff's Office hosted its annual 5K for the 7th year on Saturday. "Run with... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, May 30 2020 May 30, 2020 Saturday, May 30, 2020 11:25:00 AM CDT May 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Two hair stylists at the downtown location of The Clip Joint have tested positive for COVID-19, KOMU 8... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 9:11:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 59°
4am 59°
5am 58°
6am 57°
7am 60°