Simmons World Challenge
At the Edge of Poverty: Empowering Women to Change their lives and their World
I returned back to Simmons three weeks before the spring semester began to take the Simmons World Challenge two-week winter course, classes from 9 AM to 5 PM. I can honestly say that this course is so rich in content and everyone in my class was amazing! During the class, we learned multiple techniques on how to work in a team effectively and were then divided into groups.One of the main goals of the course was to discuss and create a project that would potentially alleviate poverty in the Boston Area. I was in a group with Ruthy Rickenbacker, Krina Patel, and Page Allen and together we created a cookbook/health resource for SNAP and WIC recipients and a local newsletter to potentially alleviate poverty in the community, increase the availability of resources and promote healthier diets for those who are receiving assistance from the government.
When we arrived on Monday, the whole class immediately began by volunteering our services at the Pine Street Inn. Pine Street Inn was a real eye opener for many students and it was a great way to begin the course with an open mind. We were asked to serve dinners at the men's side of the inn and at first, I was sort of nervous. My parents always taught me to avoid "homeless" people on the streets because they can be dangerous, but right at that moment, I was confronted with the truth; they were no different from you or me, but I feel like it has become a social norm to view people living in poverty as a threat, and I think it's time to change that.
For me, there were many things that hit home. When reading one of the two assigned books, "The Working Poor" by David K Shipler, I found myself outraged at the content of the book. I was getting angry that the book was trying to tell me that my family was poor because of my relations to how he described the "poor people's" behavior. I was just so angry because I know that I had a rich childhood filled with love and I know that my parents did everything they could to make sure we (my siblings and I) had what we wanted. But I later realized that the author was trying to make a point. I felt like he wanted to tell his readers that it was okay to feel outraged, and in fact, he suggested that we should be upset! This of course could be a whole discussion all on its own, so I will not get into it.
Something important to remember is that we should not view "poor people" as a stereotype or as one face. Behind every face is someone's story; someone's life.