Victor Jung is a committed philanthropist from New York City

Tag: Homelessness

How Fighting Child Poverty is Both an Ethical and Economical Responsibility

Poverty remains one of the biggest issues facing many Americans today. Thousands of people, including children, suffer year after year because they do not have the financial means to sustain an adequate lifestyle. Children have been one unfortunate target of poverty, as approximately one in five children grows up poor. However, the issue of poverty has impacted specific demographics harder than others.

Children of color have proven to be disproportionately poorer than their counterparts, and they comprise 70 percent of the poor children population. In addition, black children are projected to become the majority in 2020. The issue of poverty stems beyond these numbers, however, because poverty is color-blind. This calls for an inherent ethical responsibility to fix the poverty situation.

Study after study has demonstrated that poverty has an adversely negative impact on the development of children, and it can impact their ability to become successful when they grow up. This could mean not getting a decent job or not getting an adequate education. However, the impact of poverty can also affect one’s physical development as well. Being poor means they may not be able to have adequate nutrition. This can make them more susceptible to numerous infections or important deficiencies in their body that can affect their health.

This country owes it to those who do not have opportunities to not jeopardize the future of many Americans. While many people have the fortunate reality of escaping poverty, they are offset by those who enter into that same situation. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that many people work a full-time schedule, and are just barely able to make ends meet. That should not be the case, especially considering the millions upon billions of dollars that the country spends on other pursuits such as military defense recklessly.

The leaders of this country who have the majority of wealth and cannot possibly relate the struggles of those who do not know when the next meal is coming have to be held to a higher standard. It is contingent upon leaders of every form of government to ensure that its citizens are given ample opportunity to succeed in life. The issue of poverty can be fixed, but the desire to devise a means to fix it is what’s missing.

The Bezos Day One Fund: An Overview

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos recently declared their first philanthropic endeavor. “The Bezos Day One Fund” is expected to tackle two issues: homelessness and early education. Bezos explained that his organization would tackle homelessness by serving as a supplemental source of operational funding for other nonprofits invested in aiding homeless families. His approach to early education would be managed more directly, seeking to establish a network of high quality nonprofit preschools within low-income areas. Bezos has high expectations that his business acumen will lead his charitable efforts just as well, specifically saying he would use the same guiding principles that led Amazon to excel: an obsession with satisfying customers. In this particular case, the “customers” are children.

Because technical jargon in marketing can be troubling, here is an assessment of what Bezos’ child-first schooling would look like. Bezos schools would mimic the unstructured approach used by Montessori schools. While that may sound scary, 4-year-olds are not exactly needing of intense structure.

Alina Adams, author of a “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten,” explained that parents tend to be overwhelmed with choosing a preschool. The market is loaded with dozens of keywords, leading to further confusion regarding which institution would be best for a human recently-freed of diapers.

The bulk of preschooling revolves around keeping children engaged while their parents work. Things like socialization or advancing cognitive development can occur elsewhere. One Head Start program study indicated that preschooling laid the groundwork for better adult earnings and educational gains for mothers. The ideal preschool scenario would be a mixture of daycare and schooling. When looking to low-income families, as Bezos is, the ability to offer flexible hours would be of great benefit.

Another approach the Bezos schools could take with their focus on aiding children is to offer lots of time outdoors. Free play has continued to diminish in public schools since 1955, partly because parents have risen in control over what children get to do and, consequently, lead to the increasing prevalence of depression and anxiety in children. Keeping that play outdoors would help in managing stress, obesity, and other health issues by exposing children to nature.

Bezos’ schools will have the greatest success if they work toward customizing education down to each child, rather than adhere to one-size-fits-all approach most institutions take.

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