Columbia Agencies Look to Solve Poverty Problem Early

6 years 7 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
COLUMBIA - As the weather gets warmer and plants continue to bloom, season allergies will become more of an issue... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 5:51:00 AM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Graham McCaulley about how the ongoing pandemic has affected... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:42:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - For Scott Denson, music is his escape from reality. And, during this global pandemic he knew he wasn't... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 9:38:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Former Kansas City Council woman Alissia Canady is running as a Democrat for Missouri lieutenant... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 7:57:41 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a 2018 law banning public union workers... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 7:09:59 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson held his daily COVID-19 press conference Tuesday afternoon. At the press conference, he... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:05:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia teen is leading the charge to make face shields for healthcare workers as the nation is... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:01:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
If you are feeling anxious about COVID-19, you're not alone. A new survey from the American Psychiatric Association reveals more... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 3:58:38 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- State lawmakers were originally scheduled to be back at the capitol Jefferson City this week after their spring... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 12:57:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the first week Columbia Public Schools is delivering meals for students as school is held at... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 12:50:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
DC —Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley joined a bipartisan group of 121 members of Congress in sending a letter... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 12:15:00 PM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Andrew Zumwalt about the stock market's roller coaster ride... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:34:00 AM CDT March 31, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri Police Department hasn't received any reports of scams related to COVID-19, yet. But in... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:30:31 AM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Lakota Coffee was broken into Monday night, according to a Facebook post by the company. "We... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 10:39:00 AM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 9:17:00 AM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - On March 1, daily life in Columbia looked a lot different than it does today. People were... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:00:00 AM CDT March 31, 2020 in News
TROY (AP) — An eastern Missouri sheriff's department has reached a $2 million settlement with a man who spent more... More >>
1 day ago Monday, March 30 2020 Mar 30, 2020 Monday, March 30, 2020 8:23:00 PM CDT March 30, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 40°
8am 43°
9am 47°
10am 51°
11am 55°