What have you learned from your first-hand experience about poverty here in the City of Rochester and how has that affected you?
I think the biggest thing I have personally learned is appreciating what I have. As many of you know… my good ol’ 2002 Sebring LX is anything but a luxury model. Over the past few months I have had some minor to serious car issues ranging from my cigarette lighter falling out to my entire wheel coming off (view humorous picture below)
Poor Sebring 😦
These past few months have really helped me to appreciate the support system I have in my family and friends. Had it not been for them I would no longer have a car let alone money to buy groceries. With that being said, experiencing poverty first hand has shown me how lucky I am to have this type of support system.
Through Rochester Youth Year I have worked with families and individuals who do not have this type of support system. They also have factors working against them that I had never imagined before; language, trauma, mental health, war, etc. I think that too often we as a society take for granted the support we have, and never give a second thought to what it would be like to live without it. This type of attitude exemplified can lead to ignorance and the cutting of social services. The ramifications of this are unimaginable. I believe that our society needs to take greater reflection on what they have, before they judge those who do not have the same advantages that they do. This type of reflection is idealistic at best, but I believe it could change the way the world views poverty; there would be less wastefulness, consumerism, and an increased respect for human kind.
You cannot begin to understand someone/something, until you have walked a mile in their shoes… and I think that saying rings true for my experience in Rochester Youth Year thus far.