Growing up in poverty


Annual income for a typical household in the Pine Ridge area of Topeka, Kan., lingers below $10,000. Such a high poverty level coupled with a need for services has sparked a unique community effort that has been successful in making Parents as Teachers, in collaboration with other community partners, available and incredibly impactful to Topeka families.

It’s a trend we’re seeing more and more: full service schools. These communities (often housing developments) offer residents everything from health centers and social service help to food pantries. It’s a collaborative approach to strengthening neighborhoods that Parents as Teachers embraces. So much so that it offered a poverty simulation last year to expose parent educators to stressors of raising a family in poverty.

“The things that we don’t think about, and that they have to, are really astounding,” Kerry Caverly, said in this story from the Harvard Education Letter. “It shakes you up. I saw people literally walk out of the room. They could not handle the stress.”

More than 60% of Parents as Teachers affiliates nationwide serve low-income families.

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