Northwest New Jersey Community Action Partnership
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Bio Poem on Poverty
Program of the Month


The Pathways 2 Prosperity Bio Poem Project was inspired by Kentucky poet and teacher, George Ella Lyon. Ms. Lyon’s poem, “Where I’m From” has been used as a writing prompt by teachers from all over the world.   Participants in the Pathways 2 Prosperity Bio Poem Project were asked to consider two questions in order to encourage the writing of their poems: “What has life been like?” and, “Where am I headed?”  Here's a sample (scroll down):

I am from self-loathing to loving myself

I am from being scared to confident

From being ashamed to being proud

From always angry to being happy

I am from no electricity to lights turned on

I am from no cable to the choice to watch TV or not

From no food to eating all the right healthy foods

From no personal products to the feeling I can take care of us

I am from an unreliable car to a reliable car

I am from no job to a career


The misconception exists that poverty is a learned helplessness passed from parents to children, thus becoming intergenerational; the truth is people who are poor want to, can and do work incredibly hard. Our systems do not give them access to capacity, capital or the networks that are necessary to succeed. These are vital issues that require an innovative approach; this is exactly what Pathways 2 Prosperity (P2) provides. P2 creates a pathway out of poverty to sustainable self-reliance and resiliency. The P2 journey is a three phase process. Phase I begins with a motivational life planning curriculum where Path Leaders evaluate how poverty impacts their life and the community.

Through an inventory of their personal resources they develop individualized action plans, called a Prosperity Plan, with identified dates of completion that create financial independence and family stability. Phase II begins with Path Leaders putting their Prosperity Plan into action. Weekly meetings continue with comprehensive education focusing on the skills and tools needed to make their Prosperity Plan a reality. Phase III begins as Path Leaders accomplish their goals and become mentors, committee members, and/or volunteers supporting the sustained growth of P2 Compadres, P2 children's program, focuses on building life skills, career exploration and educational commitment. It cultivates the social and emotional growth of children through the implementation of evidence based curriculum, interactive reading, exploratory education and homework club. STEM workshops are provided weekly to foster interest in living wage careers and cultivate academic engagement.

Trained high school and college students serve as peer mentors modeling healthy behaviors, conflict resolution skills, decision making skills, substance use refusal skills and interest in academic pursuits. Volunteers play a vital role at P2. High school students, college students, and faith-based youth groups volunteer as peer mentors within the Compadres program. Adult volunteers mentor, cook weekly meals, participate in committee work, help with marketing, appear as guest speakers, assist with fundraising, and so much more. The possibilities are endless. Whatever time and gifts an individual or family has to share there is a volunteer role in Pathways 2 Prosperity.

Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program Inc.
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