Effects of Poverty on Children

Jessie’s Story

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         Jessie Staley, a teenage girl, resides in the small town of Harts, West Virginia. While other girls at her high school are concerned about which prom dress they will purchase or which college they will be attending, Jessie worries about waking up her three siblings and what she will be making for dinner for the family. She is the main caretaker in her family. Her father is out trucking for his career and works very hard to support his family. Even though he works very hard, the family is only able to afford $120 a month for food. Because the family receives such little money a month and usually not enough, Jessie must go to charities in order meet a very strict budget. Because of this poverty, the children are malnourished and her father is becoming obese because of all the low-cost fast food he eats on a regular basis. Her father’s worsening condition is threatening her ability to attend college which is her life’s goal. Even in a time of such need for the family, Jessie thinks of her family first and herself last. She will cook dinner and tuck her siblings into bed before she even starts working on her homework.

         Jessie’s story became known to more and more people and she is now is receiving much needed help. She believes that education will make her a better person and works hard in school to try to achieve a scholarship. She is now getting herself associated with Upward Bound. This is an organization that helps children get a good education and helps them attend college. Michael Tiemey, director of Step-by-Step which supports the impoverished people in the farmlands of West Virginia, states, “For kids like Jessie, the issue isn’t just money. There’s a real lack of social service organizations in rural areas, specifically mental services. There is also a lack of opportunities for kids to create their own network for success. Without money or resources, it’s difficult for them to build a bigger world for themselves.” He is the director of Step-by-Step which supports the impoverished people in the farmlands of West Virginia. The organization supports her as well as her siblings by giving her the aid that she requires by doing activities that will enhance her leadership ability.