This week we all saw grim statistics documenting how poverty is increasing for many more Americans: more than 46 million live below the federal poverty line. What is that line?  $11,139/year for an individual, and $22,314/year for a family of four. Can you imagine living on that sum in a big city, where everything costs even more?

It confirms what we know when we look around in our own lives — longer periods of unemployment among friends and family, salaries cut but with more responsibilities for those still lucky enough to have a job, lack of certainty about long-term prospects.

Women and children are particularly hit hard. Yet a number, however meaningful, is nameless and faceless — here’s life in a low-income San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood as seen through the eyes of a 17 month old toddler who lives there with his family, as narrated by his mother.

Terreace is just one child out of millions who’s counting on his village to help him grow and thrive to his fullest potential. His mom counts herself lucky she has a job. Growing up poor shouldn’t close off your future.

Through My Eyes from New America Media on Vimeo.

Yet even in March, 2011, when this news report first aired, there were already record numbers of children in poverty. Listen to one child describe what it feels like to go to sleep hungry.

Now you tell me — how are these kids supposed to ace standardized tests, tests that their teachers will be fired over if both kids and teachers don’t hit certain benchmarks?


H/T San Francisco School Board member, Rachel Norton, for the video on the Bayview/Hunters Point family.

1 Comment

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  1. Mamdouh Hanna 8 years ago

    Cynthia, as a Playworks staff and AmeriCorps VISTA here in Los Angeles, I definitely relate to what you mentioned in your article about the increase in poverty. That poverty is hitting Los Angeles schools hard and our children and their families suffer from it.

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