Marginalized News Commentary for Changemakers

Finding suitable candidates for the Java Hope program isn’t difficult when one considers the state of the economy. The problem is convincing potential candidates of the ‘no fee’ program. They are very skeptical of receiving anything ‘free’ that doesn’t originate from Social Services. They have been mistreated, abused and above all disappointed from ‘so call’ people with good intentions. So trusting anyone is difficult.

 Adult instructors emphasize first eliminating the poverty mindset. If we don’t garner trust, the student attrition rate will be startling. This requires being more than just their friend. Educators must feel empathy and demonstrate patience. Most women did not arrive at their present state overnight. Many grew up on welfare and now exhibit a generational mentality towards entitlement programs. Then suddenly, the program stops. Some have never considered that one day they will be compelled to get a job and go to work. They are shocked, scared and overwhelmed. They have no job skills and very limited education. They have nowhere and no one to turn to for help.

Then suddenly there is a free program called Java Hope….of course they are skeptical. There just has to be a ‘trick’ in the program somewhere. I often ease their fears by telling them about my childhood growing up on welfare in the City of Detroit. I fully understand their apprehensions. 

However I share with them a point of intervention from a high school teacher that completely changed my life. Suddenly, they relax and become very interested in the program. Young Mothers really don’t want to be poor. They are often embarrassed and ashamed at being subjected to mistreatment inherent in the system. Yet there is nothing else to help them achieve financial stability. 

It’s normal to be apprehensive when attempting new things. Change is often difficult. But life is forever evolving. It is never static. So we create a bridge helping students to take the plunge and not fall into the ocean. They often share how they hated their lifestyle and now are proud of their accomplishment. They also frequently tell us how much this has impacted their children.

This is the metric that keeps us going when things become difficult. The children!

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