Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Help Disadvantaged Children in Your Own Neighborhood

More than 22 percent of all children in the United States live in families below the federal poverty level. Children living in poverty are disadvantaged from the start. Poor families are typically unable to provide proper nutrition for physical and mental health and often cannot afford medical services to keep children fit. Children who live in impoverished areas are less likely to be exposed to books and early learning than children in higher economic regions. Research shows that giving poor children access to the right food and educational experiences can change the cycle of persistent poverty. There are ways you can help children in your own neighborhood overcome the tremendous obstacles they face and get on track to break the cycle and live full and happy lives.
Feeding Little Bodies to Help Them Grow Strong
Children who don’t get enough to eat struggle in every aspect of their lives. Learning and cognitive skills are impaired and their immune systems are weakened, leaving them vulnerable to chronic illnesses. One of the best ways to improve the lives of poor children is by making sure they get enough nutritious food. Local food banks and homeless shelters are often primary sources of food for poor families. Donating food is an excellent way to help. Unfortunately, many food donations are obvious rejects from the donator’s cabinet.
Here are some tips to remember when donating food to make sure your donations do the most good:
  • Donate non-cook food: Items like tuna, peanut butter, canned meats, canned fruit and granola bars are ideal for families that may not have a way to cook.
  • Watch the packaging: Donated food should be in its original packaging. Do not donate items contained in glass. Easy open packaging, such as pouches or canned foods with pull-top lids, is preferred.
  • Consider the nutritional value: Low sugar, fat and salt content and whole grain types of items are healthier than junk food.
  • Consider the shelf life: Foods like soup, pasta, spaghetti sauce, crackers and cereal all have long shelf lives and can be used as needed.
Do not donate bulging or dented cans, expired items, home canned goods or open packages. Never donate anything you would not eat yourself.
Another way to help is to volunteer your time. Contact the homeless shelters and food banks in your area to find out what kind of help they need and spend a few hours a week volunteering your time. Monetary donations are also welcome.
Research shows that the influence of a supportive adult in the lives of at risk children is the key to protecting them from repeating the cycle of economic poverty. One of the most well-known mentoring organizations in the United States is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Big Brothers Big Sisters has over 340 agencies across the nation, serving approximately 200,000 children and their families. The organization’s mission is to provide children facing adversity, many from single parent homes with fathers or mothers who are incarcerated, in the military or otherwise not involved in their lives, with an adult role model and mentor dedicated to changing their lives for the better.
A study conducted by Public/Private Ventures, an independent national research organization, found that after spending 18 months in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, children were less likely to use drugs and alcohol, less likely to skip a class or school day and less likely to resort to violent behavior than their non-participating counterparts. They also performed better in school, reported more self-confidence and got along better with other family members.
Mentoring organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters work because they give a child the chance to experience everyday activities like going to movies, sightseeing, attending sporting events and just hanging out with a caring adult who supports them. Many pairings result in lifelong friendships.
Children in the lower economic brackets don’t always get the solid academic foundation they need to succeed in school and, tragically, most never catch up. Children who receive supplemental instruction from tutors, either on a one-on-one basis or as part of a small group, however, show significant academic improvement and often carve out a path for school and career success. If you have expertise in a specific field, tutoring is a great way to help disadvantaged children in your neighborhood.
If you don’t have a specific field of knowledge, you can still help. The volunteer reader program administered by the United Way is designed to assist children between kindergarten and third grade acquire reading and comprehension skills. Volunteers read stories, ask questions to encourage understanding and help students learn to read on their own.
Check with the schools in your area about existing tutoring and reading programs already in place or contact the United Way for more information about their programs.


Check Page Rank of any web site pages instantly:
This free page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

blogger templates | Make Money Online