A study by the non-profit organization DoSomething.org found the following devastating statistics about poverty and kids struggling with their schooling due to the lack of financial resources:
- More than 30 million kids in the United States grow up in poverty. In one low-income neighborhood or community, there would only be one book for every 300 kids.
- Kids leaving in poverty are more likely to leave school and have a higher percentage of absenteeism since they also have to provide for their families.
- Children from low-income families are seven times more likely to leave and drop out of school compared to children coming from more privileged backgrounds.
- Kids coming from low-income communities or those living below the poverty line are 1.3 more at risk for developing learning disabilities or developmental delays.
If there are hardworking but underserved students in your town or neighborhood, you can extend help and support to them in a variety of ways. Here are some of them:
Adopt some scholars
There are plenty of non-profit organizations (NPOs) that you can partner with to find students that you can adopt as your scholars. NPOs like World Vision, Room to Read, and Teach for America are always looking for willing donors who want to give to the cause, so you can look into them and see if you share in their vision.
If you find that donating to NPOs feels a bit impersonal, look for local communities already working with underprivileged students in your area so that you can meet the students personally. Just make sure to do your due diligence to ensure that you are not giving your time, money, and energy to the wrong groups or organizations.
Lend your financial knowledge
If you work in the financial industry or just have plenty of knowledge in terms of financial literacy, consider lending your knowledge and find ways to educate and empower underserved students. From teaching them how to budget their money wisely to learning more about alternatives to GoFundMe to investing in stocks, you would not just be giving these kids fish; you would be teaching them how to fish so that they can survive and grow whatever they have now.
This is something we often forget about people living in low-income neighborhoods: They are not always provided with the tools they need to make the most out of their financial resources, so education and empowerment are key.
Seek donations and raise funds
If you have a knack for bringing people together or making audiences believe in your vision, consider hosting a fund-raising event for the kids. The best part is that you don’t have to do this alone; you can partner with a private organization like a company or a business, or even a religious institution like a church or a temple to help gain more resources like manpower. Here are some tips for organizing a successful fund-raising activity:
- Make sure you have a clear beneficiary. This entails doing proper research on the area, and even meeting your beneficiaries. If your beneficiaries and purpose are not clear, you run the risk of people not donating their money or time since they don’t know where the whole thing will go. This means being transparent about where the funds will go exactly, whether it’s school supplies, tuition fees, or the students’ day-to-day allowance. Provide receipts and proper documentation as well.
- Find activities that are fun and productive, and avoid throwing extravagant parties. You don’t need to organize a thousand-per-plate dinner just to get privileged people to donate funds. We live in a time when being overly extravagant is not always the most sensible thing to do, so choose activities like a fun run or a bake sale instead.
Bestow your beneficiaries with dignity
And last but not the least, see the human beings behind the statistics. Don’t just try to help to feel better or feel like you’re doing your duty to the world; see the beneficiaries for who they really are—their dreams, fears, potential, and what they can do to help the nation as well. Invest in them and empower them so that they can believe in themselves too. Bestow them with the dignity they deserve and don’t ask for anything in return—just that they work hard to be the best students they can be.
Working with underserved communities is noble work—and one that is sorely needed in a year like 2022. Find ways to help low-income students in your area and you will be doing the world a favor. The next generation is the future, after all.