Since the Trayvon Martin threads have become poisonous finger pointing and bickering I'd like to offer a thread that may be hopeful. I'll start with some background:
I lived in Kansas City, KS for the first 2 years of my life and then spend a large portion of the next 20 there. For those who don't know, KCKS has one of the highest (might be the actual highest) per capita murder rates in the US.
My girlfriend is from Colorado and she attended UMKC for her masters. Her thesis was about the affects of social service agencies on crime rate. Her data mining showed what is being argued ad nauseum; being low income, black, and surprisingly enough being close to social service agencies were all correlated with high crime rate. Which one of these factors is responsible is not what this thread is about, however.
The question is, what can be done in these areas to effectively make a change? It seems people are so confident in these social service agencies which don't really work. Teaching history and financial management in schools is ineffective if none of these folks attend class.
My girlfriend was a Big Sister to a little black girl who lived in an especially bad part of the city. After several months it became obvious the little girl was using my girlfriend for free meals at restaurants. Once the restaurants stopped, contact stopped. She was 12 years old and started dating a boy, the thought absolutely terrified my girlfriend.
DN said she was involved in organizations trying to help these communities so maybe she can chime in. I would like for this to not get nasty. This can be a place to share success stories as well.
From my own experiences:
-Getting out of poverty requires being fed up with the bullshit that happens in your life and completely abandoning it. These people get out and if their family is not on board they do not enable them to drag them back.
-Social service agencies may not be as effective as they claim--at least when it comes to crime rate. I do not think this should result in abandoning them, just taking an honest assessment of their value to the community.
-I believe mentoring programs are probably one of the most valuable programs for this problem. The issue is that you only get a short period of time with the individual. My girlfriend highly suspects that her Little Sister's mom was influencing her situation negatively. You can also not mentor someone who does not want to accept advice.