Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
Authored by: Lisa Dugan
Photography by: Candace diCarlo
The recent economic recession has brought national attention to the plight of families who are now struggling to get by. Often forgotten in these headlines are the thousands of families caught in a cycle of poverty that has extended for generations.
NPL student Louis Jeantete is concerned about the grave repercussions of this type of persistent poverty, not only for individuals but for entire communities and society as a whole. For his practicum, Jeantete chose to work with ACHIEVEability, a nonprofit working to permanently break the cycle of poverty for single-parent, low-income families, many formerly homeless. The agency provides a range of supportive services including education, job readiness, and housing assistance.
According to Jeantete, ACHIEVEability uses a copyrighted model called the Family Self Sufficiency Continuum, which tracks client development in four primary areas: education, finances, parenting and personal development. Recognizing that the cycle of poverty is perpetuated not only within families, but also within communities, the agency works with community members to help restore the economic vitality of neighborhoods and to revitalize housing.
Working in the development office, Jeantete is exploring capacity building grant opportunities to further support the organization’s mission. The agency is currently seeking research partnerships to study, evaluate, and enhance its Family Self-Sufficiency Program to support their clients to lead independent lives. As part of that effort, Jeantete is investigating an Americorps Vista Grant to help the organization accomplish its goals. Jeantete, who previously supervised an Americorps funded after school program crew that utilized young adults to tutor elementary school children, says his experience with Americorps is useful background for this project.