Growing Up Poor - Bay Area Kids Tell the Stories Behind the Numbers

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SAN FRANCISCO – The day after the U.S. Census released new data showing that one in four California children lived in poverty, a group of young reporters screened a series of videos examining what it’s like to grow up poor in the Bay Area.

A college dropout with no one to turn to candidly discusses what it means to live out of the storage container she rents.

A young mother looks through the eyes of her 17-month-old son to show what it’s like to live in a housing project in Bayview-Hunters Point.

A teen girl describes her life after her father and brother were deported.

The son of Chinese immigrants considers what it means to grow up in the Tenderloin.

A young Filipina woman talks about the disarray in her family after her partner goes to jail.

A Latina mom living in East Palo Alto describes her struggle to make sure her children eat healthy and don’t go to bed hungry.

Residents of Richmond narrate a slideshow of the liquor stores, trash and toxic sites in their city.

A young white homeless man in the Mission describes the benefits of living “off the park.”

These voices, featured in eight videos and slideshows produced by youth reporters at New America Media and its publications, Silicon Valley De-Bug and Richmond Pulse, document some of the real-life stories behind the epidemic of poverty in the state. They were screened Sept. 14 at the World Affairs Council before a packed room of reporters and health care advocates at a forum for ethnic media, sponsored by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

“When people are invisible and don’t have a platform, their stories need to be told,” observed New America Media executive director Sandy Close, noting that “this is the way we get people to care.”

U.S. Census data indicates that more than 6 million people in California, 2 million of them children, lived in poverty last year.

Nearly one-third of the state’s African-American children live in poverty, compared to one-tenth of the state’s Caucasian children, according to Kidsdata, a comprehensive website that tracks hundreds of indicators on the health and wellbeing of children in California, said Andy Krackov, assistant vice president of program and partnerships with the foundation. The website, which currently has about 10 million data points, was launched nearly seven years ago to raise awareness of children’s issues.

The grim statistics reflect a state still suffering from the worst recession since the Great Depression: Nearly half of all kids in California qualify for free or reduced school lunches, according to Kidsdata, and the figure jumps to as much as two-thirds in Southern California counties San Bernardino and Los Angeles.

“Poverty can affect children in so many ways, impacting on their weight, academic performance and health,” said Krackov.

The young videographers – Sean Shavers, Valerie Klinker, Josue Rojas, Jean Melesaine, Justin Li, Ann Bassette, Nancy Ybarra, Karina Guadalupe and Donny Lumpkins – then took the podium and fielded questions from the audience. At least three of them acknowledged that they had drawn material for their videos from their own families.

“I put myself out there ’cause I am not ashamed of being poor,” said Klinker.

“The woman (who lives in a storage container) is my sister,” said Shavers, adding: “A lot of people don’t know what young people (out there) are going through.”


The mulimedia project "Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area" is presented by New America Media and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

You should forward this project to both the Republicans and Democrats to stress how important it is to pass Obama's Job's Bill NOW!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

If San Francisco didnt give so much tax payers money to illegal immagrants and homosexuals, then they could offered to give normal people help

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

you could make $50,000 a year and be poor in that overpriced city.very expensive

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

I grew up poor in the bay area - and overcame so many things to survive - and here I am 58 years old... and have to start over after spending all my savings to get through 2+ years of unemployment.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

tell them to get jobs and stop being lazy. The tax payers are tired of supporting everyone. This current administration is making everyone lazy and if your an illegal go home. No more free ride.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Amazing the lack of any sort of compassion that one responder seems to have, blaming "illegal immigrants and homosexuals" for San Francisco's financial woes.
And the responder considers himself/herself "normal". I don't care how old or young the person is who wrote that; I do care that the blame is completely misdirected, that the responder seems to want Scapegoats instead of using his/her intelligence which I assume (I know, I know...) he/she has.
I hope the responder isn't claiming, along with 'normal', 'Christian'. Jesus certainly didn't say, "Starve The Poor and Needy" or "Make all poor children Suffer."
For another responder: RightOn in sending this article to Republicans AND Democrats!!
And another: The fact that you brought yourself out from under so many hardships and then only to be smacked back down and had to lose your savings or starve is completely Criminal and Immoral of our state's and country's economic systems. Here's for a MUCH BETTER Future and Regularly Good Food Filled Stomach!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

let's all grow up and be hedge fund managers ... yeah that will solve poverty

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Amazing the lack of any sort of compassion that one responder seems to have, blaming "illegal immigrants and homosexuals" for San Francisco's financial woes.
And the responder considers himself/herself "normal". I don't care how old or young the person is who wrote that; I do care that the blame is completely misdirected, that the responder seems to want Scapegoats instead of using his/her intelligence which I assume (I know, I know...) he/she has.
I hope the responder isn't claiming, along with 'normal', 'Christian'. Jesus certainly didn't say, "Starve The Poor and Needy" or "Make all poor children Suffer."
For another responder: RightOn in sending this article to Republicans AND Democrats!!
And another: The fact that you brought yourself out from under so many hardships and then only to be smacked back down and had to lose your savings or starve is completely Criminal and Immoral of our state's and country's economic systems. Here's for a MUCH BETTER Future and Regularly Good Food Filled Stomach!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Amazing the lack of any sort of compassion that one responder seems to have, blaming "illegal immigrants and homosexuals" for San Francisco's financial woes.
And the responder considers himself/herself "normal". I don't care how old or young the person is who wrote that; I do care that the blame is completely misdirected, that the responder seems to want Scapegoats instead of using his/her intelligence which I assume (I know, I know...) he/she has.
I hope the responder isn't claiming, along with 'normal', 'Christian'. Jesus certainly didn't say, "Starve The Poor and Needy" or "Make all poor children Suffer."
For another responder: RightOn in sending this article to Republicans AND Democrats!!
And another: The fact that you brought yourself out from under so many hardships and then only to be smacked back down and had to lose your savings or starve is completely Criminal and Immoral of our state's and country's economic systems. Here's for a MUCH BETTER Future and Regularly Good Food Filled Stomach!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Gee you would think they would stay in their third world countries. Just remember most of these guys were sponsored to get to the US. Where are their 'relatives' now

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

What happened to the subtitle???
A young black women or man .....

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

bread in calif. . $4.99, bananas 82 a pound, avocado $2.00 ..bread more than gas in virginia..what do u expect..poverty all over..sad..

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

I find it funny that people who make bad choices and are living with the consequences are the same ones who dont understand why their lives are the way that they are....In my own experiences, I grew up in a poor family. I had a job since I was 10 yrs old. I studied, worked in high school while my friends and classmates played football or other afterschool events. Some of my friends joined gangs for money and hot girls, some just messed around hangin out and being "cool". I graduated with a 3.87 GPA and went to college while holding down 2 jobs (35 hrs a week). Graduated and now make a good living. Now, half of my old friends do blue collar work, some are in jail and some havent amounted to $%^& in life....I still love my "old" friends...but I dont sympathize for their "Bad" choices in life....

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

they should move from pricey ca to another state

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

There was an article on Yahoo several months ago how California was loosing its tax base because so many people are leaving. They were being replaced by illegals and welfare cases who were moving in.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

AS someone living here, on the poverty line, the problem is pretty apparent. I have a good job, $60k a year good, but it's not enough to fight the endless barrage of taxes to pay for things we don't need (read new bay bridge, built and paid for in china, and a 1,000,000 budget for SNOWMOBILES), and government programs, like welfare, wic and others, which do have they're place, being used by people with no motivation at all, or aspirations of being the next big "star" , rather than being dispersed by those trying to make ends meet and do the right thing. If you want to fix the poverty problem, stop worrying about appearances, and snowmobiles and start worrying about the people. Start worrying about why we shut down the mental health facilities for people who will never be able to survive in mainstream society and are therefore left homeless on the street, start worrying about why there are towns with mayors making over $600K a year, start worrying about drug testing the people who receive welfare, medical, wic and other assistance programs.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

It is pathetic that the right wing wackos and tea party terrorists could care less about the poor.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Simple solution: move out of the Bay Area. The reason everyone is poor is because the cost of living is so high here. If you move to a rural town, you can expect to pay only $50k or less for a house, probably get a job with the oil industry or fishing industry. For those who can't even afford that, have you ever thought of full time camping in a national park where the bathrooms are public and free? You can take any odd jobs to pay for food and camping fees and live. BTW, how far is rural? Los Gatos mountains, Tracy/Stockton, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Folsom, etc. For those who wouldn't mind back breaking work, gold mining seems to have come back into fashion.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Poor people suck. Fuck 'em.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Thank You.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

all illegals to

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

It is pathetic that the right wing wackos and tea party terrorists could care less about the poor.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

The point is? Let's tax more to erase poverty; let go for socialism to import all poor people for all over the world. What can we do more to satisfy your lib's big heart?

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Times are very tough, I was layed off from my job and had to go and get food stamps to support my 4 year old son, When I went down to that welfare office I was disgusted with what I saw. I saw people who were friends telling eachother what to say so they didn't have to work or what to say to get more money. I refused the cash assistance, just needed help with food. But one immigrant had 4 kids all under the age of 6 and was pregnant again!!!!! Something really has to give eventually. You can be an illegal and get assistance, All you have to do is fire out a few kids and the check gets bigger and bigger for every kid you have! Absolute disgust! If your not from here, GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM, Thanks.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

typical moron blaming illegals and homosexuals, shows how ignorant and clueless he or she is. immigrants cannot and do not get benefits from the government, in fact they pay into the social security fund an average of 13 to 15 billion a year while the moron gets good prices on produce and cheap food, while he is busy with his hate rhetoric all the politicians are selling our economy and jobs to china and india. its called out sourcing i call it b.s. as far as homosexuals are concerned their is no concern!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

typical moron blaming illegals and homosexuals, shows how ignorant and clueless he or she is. immigrants cannot and do not get benefits from the government, in fact they pay into the social security fund an average of 13 to 15 billion a year while the moron gets good prices on produce and cheap food, while he is busy with his hate rhetoric all the politicians are selling our economy and jobs to china and india. its called out sourcing i call it b.s. as far as homosexuals are concerned their is no concern!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

Why should people care isn't there fault the didn't go to college, didn't put there kid up for adoption, because they couldn't take care. I don't know why cities make section 8 available. Its like when people ask can you spare change and I say why your just going to spend it, I bet you would spend my money faster then me if you had the chance. Then they call me an A-hole!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

When you chase manufacturing out of California, you reduced the employment opportunities for unskilled and low-skilled people. California has, by imposing a ridiculous amount of nonsensical regulations and taxes on manufacturers and job creators, destroyed its own economy for low-skilled labor. Actors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, and other high-skill, high-creative jobs are still here (for now anyway), but the manufacturing is going, going,.... gone - to Arizona, Texas, Utah, Mexico, China, anywhere but California. From Prop 65 to regulating the size of chicken coops to punitive taxes (both income and sales taxes, as well as licenses, fees, endless inspections, etc.) California has sown the seeds of its own economic destruction. Now the no-skill and low-skill people have no outlet for jobs - most service sector low-skill jobs are taken by immigrants (legal and illegal) willing to work. Those who can ride the EBT Express find it easier to just sleep in and collect benefits since there are no manufacturing jobs to entice them to work.

When you're a young girl and single, don't have a kid unless you have a job. If it was an accidental pregnancy, get an abortion or put the child up for adoption. It amazes me how people can't figure out how they arrived at where they are. When you have a kid and no job, the kid suffers and you have very little chance to get out of your predicament, particularly if you have no marketable skills. People need to think about consequences for their actions and act appropriately, not just be irresponsible and then complain that they are living on the dole and don't see a way out.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

When you chase manufacturing out of California, you reduced the employment opportunities for unskilled and low-skilled people. California has, by imposing a ridiculous amount of nonsensical regulations and taxes on manufacturers and job creators, destroyed its own economy for low-skilled labor. Actors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, and other high-skill, high-creative jobs are still here (for now anyway), but the manufacturing is going, going,.... gone - to Arizona, Texas, Utah, Mexico, China, anywhere but California. From Prop 65 to regulating the size of chicken coops to punitive taxes (both income and sales taxes, as well as licenses, fees, endless inspections, etc.) California has sown the seeds of its own economic destruction. Now the no-skill and low-skill people have no outlet for jobs - most service sector low-skill jobs are taken by immigrants (legal and illegal) willing to work. Those who can ride the EBT Express find it easier to just sleep in and collect benefits since there are no manufacturing jobs to entice them to work.

When you're a young girl and single, don't have a kid unless you have a job. If it was an accidental pregnancy, get an abortion or put the child up for adoption. It amazes me how people can't figure out how they arrived at where they are. When you have a kid and no job, the kid suffers and you have very little chance to get out of your predicament, particularly if you have no marketable skills. People need to think about consequences for their actions and act appropriately, not just be irresponsible and then complain that they are living on the dole and don't see a way out.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

I completely agree that the "Jesus On Grass" currently on eBay is a lot more news worthy than this article. Thumbs up if you think a writer or journalist should break that news story.

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

California , Michigan and 48 more states need passage of the American Job Act. Here in

Northern Michigan there are no jobs to speak of just those reduced lunches or free lunches

that we read about! If this is not the 1930's then maybe I am wrong because the Big 3 are

still selling a lot of new cars to someone!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 22 2011

The American Job Act could, should and will give all American a chance to pull ourselfs out
of the depression that we are living in. Congress if you are reading this, Pass this bill!
Americans need a better today tomorrow! Congress, Pass this bill! There are no jobs,
little food, and little money! Yet we have computers, cell phones and a lot of tatoos!
Congess, Pass The American Job Act and let's all get a job and go back to work!
Put all of America back to work!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 26 2011

Passing the job bill Obama wants will do NOTHING. I would like to see government entitlements greatly reduced so the lazy can get back to work. I am not talking about elderly, handicapped or folks with a pre existing medical condition. Cut back Section 8 and food stamps by half would be a great place to start.

Anonymous

Posted Nov 3 2011

i understand where most people are going throuhg because im a mother of two in the hunters point area it is hard very hard

You have got

Posted Feb 12 2012

I wish to many thanks for posting this text without the same old bias that is thus prevalent in these days’s writings. This content is straightforward information.

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