Change in Poverty

by sgelf1 on April 27, 2014 - 11:17pm

After reading a post on poverty, I was interested in looking as services and programs in my local area that work with poverty and impoverished youth. Rochester Works! is an organization based in Rochester, NY that looks at the issue of poverty and helps individuals in need by providing resources for them to be successful. They work with a 2,000,000 dollar budget that they use to put on their programs and offer their services. One of their programs is working with unemployed individuals and providing a 5-day training to help them jump-start their career. They also work with youth ages 14-21 at their center providing job training, interview skills, etc .Their goal is to help people find a job and help end the cycle of poverty. Their goal of ensuring people have access to job posting is evident as well based on their website content, as they post many links to resources to help people, even if they do not attend their 5-day seminar. To increase the effectiveness of this program, this center can work to help educate youth in the high schools and help them apply to colleges, enter job crops, enlist in the military or do something to help ensure they do not fall into the cycle of poverty themselves.  This idea is expanding their services by taking them outside of their building and taking it to the students.

This idea stems from the theories of Emile Durkheim, who discusses social facts and interactions. In other words, poverty has become social fact in society, along with all of the behaviors and ways of living that go along with it. These behaviors are both with others in relation to poverty as well as attitudes toward institutions that help with the issue. It is not the lack of resources and opportunities that define poverty, but the behaviors and attitudes that surround it. Poverty has developed into a social fact, which Durkheim would argue is the idea that poverty has become something that is accepted in modern society. We need to work to end the cycle, and not let it be something we accept every day.

            No one strives to be impoverished, but inadequate education and skills can leave people to be unemployed with few prospects. With the current program, there is an effort to help people be more marketable to employers. This service is designed to make it so people are not going to that service, and they get these skills early on. By working with youth and goal setting, it is possible to help them jump start and solidify their future. Furthermore, their current program is only offered at their office center, and individuals need to seek it out themselves. Not every person has the resources and the will to go to their center. By going to the high schools and offering programming there, their reach may be more affective and they may find more people walking in to their building. They may also close a gap of those who need their services.

            Explicitly, this program will be offered at the high school level and will offer workshops, classroom visits and programming to help meet students where they are at. Ideally, this program will be offered every fall and spring, and materials will be distributed to help students in the in between time and will tell them where they can find the center if they wish to come in on their own. While not all services will be offered during the expo, there will be enough to help students realize what they can accomplish and where they can go for help. This may also help end  the stigma or negative attitude one may have against those who are helping, for they are not impoverished and may not be perceived as able to help or understand the issue.

This service will work by providing educational materials and presentations to classrooms and by having an after school event which will be a smaller scale version of what the center offers daily. This will be an event to both market Rochester Works! as well as potentially gaining a new customer base for their programming before people graduate. Overall, the goal is to help people get employed to help limit the chances they wind up in the cycle of poverty.

This service will work if students attend and think highly of it. There needs to be an assessment component to identify if students are attending the programming, how many go on to center for more information, and if there is an overall increase of graduating students going onto work, college, or the military. Through this assessment component, qualitative data will also be taken for students’ ideas on what to bring the next time the expo happens, what to leave out, and their overall feelings and attitudes toward the program.

Presently, this organization provides reactive programming for those who have found themselves in need of employment, and their proactive efforts are limited to their center, and they do little with schools and to market their services to the schools.

            The intended outcomes are to shift to a more proactive program with less emphasis on the reactive component over time; meaning that this is a long term process that will involve years of assessment and work. While there is a need to reactive programming when dealing with the issue of poverty, there is a lot of proactive measures that can be done.

            The initial outcomes of this program are to be able to identify schools, guidance counselors and teachers that are interested in bringing the program to their school, as well as developing a trial expo with a basic assessment to ensure their programming is affective. This is the time the program can also make sure they have promotional materials to give out to help market to students so they can come to the center after the fact. The next outcomes are for the assessments to be analyzed and to follow up with retention efforts. During this time, it would be beneficial to implement changes. The long term outcomes involve making this program an annual event to help change the attitudes and behaviors surrounding poverty and help people become self- sufficient before there is a need for reactive programming when someone becomes impoverished.

            Overall, this program is based on the idea of expanding the current way of doing things. Over time, the program will hopefully expand so more youth are attending programs and less adults are needed services. Through a partnership with schools in the greater Rochester area, the goal is attainable.


Rochester Works seems like a good organization that really wants to help the poor. The fact that they provide these individuals with resources to help them become successful is a remarkable thing. The ideas that stem from Emile Durkheim theories are very true and bring the social aspect of this organization to a whole other level. One part of the theory explains how the idea of poverty has become something that is accepted in modern society, this is true and brings issues towards this problem that individuals and organizations are trying to fix. I found an article that goes into depth and provides some interesting solutions on how to fix the issue of poverty; it’s interesting and relates to what you are writing about.
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