Tuesday, 15 April, 2008 4:06 PM
How to End
Not Reduce Poverty One Family at a Time
courtesy of www.fightpoverty.mmbrico.com
Roughly 12 percent of Americans live in poverty today and are unable
to consistently pay for basic needs. Thats according to federal
guidelines established in the 1960s that have not factored
in the increasing costs of housing, healthcare, utilities or transportation
in the last four decades. The number of people under the real poverty
line in the U.S. could be two to three times higher. Non-profit
organizations and government agencies are attempting to eradicate
poverty, but the numbers show they are not succeeding.
to rock the boat, proclaims Scott Miller, CEO of Move the
Mountain Leadership Center which provides training, technical
assistance, consulting and coaching to leaders and communities who
are focused on ending poverty. Its caused by numerous
factors so we need to understand that there is no quick fix. Poverty
CAN be dismantled, but its going to take a radical change
in the mindset within our individual communities.
Miller believes there
are two ways out of poverty: education and social capital, One
of the largest common denominators for those living in poverty is
social isolation. Think about it. People with adequate and more-than-adequate
incomes simply dont mingle with people with low incomes and
In his new book Until
Its Gone: Ending Poverty in Our Nation, in Our Lifetime,
Miller says this social compartmentalization leads to a popular
denial that there is little to no poverty in a community, and, if
there is, then those people are getting what they deserve.
Enter the Circles
Campaign, which creates partnerships among individual volunteers
(allies) and families (leaders) pursuing
economic well-being. Miller developed the approach in order to systematically
support communities in addressing poverty. By partnering impoverished
families with those how have middle and upper income means, the
community learns from both sides of the tracks what
will work to reduce and eventually eliminate poverty.
throwing money at the problem, explains Miller. Instead,
the Circle allies, consisting of two to three community members,
join families in solving their specific challenges of getting out
of poverty while working together to approach the complex community
dynamics that hold so many others in poverty.
As documented in Until
Its Gone, one Circle leader discovered her allies dont
just giver her things, I appreciated that Circles is not a
hand-out program, its a hand-up program. She adds, They
are very educational. We each have a financial ally, a relationship
ally and an educational ally. Miller points out that people
aided by the Circles are expected to giveback in any way possible
to the cause in an effort to maximize the campaigns efforts.
those with enough wanting to help one struggling
family at a time, Miller offers the following tips:
Join a Circle: People living in poverty need friendly
contacts in the community as they find new ways to make ends
Donate a car: Without reliable transportation, finding
a job that pays a livable-wage is extremely difficult.
Encourage participation: When properly motivated, places
of worship and civic organizations will get involved in ending
Give generously: Seek out organizations that provide
emergency cash while promoting long-term self-sufficiency
Be alert to opportunities for helping people out of social
isolation: Bridge the gap to change their life and yours
for the better.
Having dedicated his
whole professional life to the cause, Miller still believes poverty
will no longer exist when enough people realize that it can and
should be ended. Its going to be hard work. However,
if we are committed, if we have regular discussions about how to
proceed and if we follow through by acting on good ideas, we CAN
eventually end poverty one family at a time.
About Scott Miller
Scott Miller is co-founder
and CEO of Move the Mountain. For more than twenty years Scott has
provided training and consulting across the country helping communities
understand and engage in high impact strategies to end poverty.
He leads MTM's CirclesTM Campaign, which provides for a direct relationship
and support between community volunteers and low-income families.
Despite being from an upper middle income family and attaining his
bachelors degree in Business Administration with a major in
Organizational Behavior, Miller went into social work because he
felt making differences in peoples lives and their communities
were callings he could not ignore. Until Its Gone: Ending
Poverty in Our Nation in our Lifetime is his second book.
For more information about Move the Mountain, the Circles
Campaign or Miller, log onto www.MoveTheMountain.org.
Source: News and Experts