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Community needs to own poverty problem before solving it

Jul. 5, 2013
 
Seeds of Hope gave cameras to residents, asking them to capture the perpectives on poverty in the community. The effort culminated in an exhibit at the Neville Public Museum that traveled the state.
Seeds of Hope gave cameras to residents, asking them to capture the perpectives on poverty in the community. The effort culminated in an exhibit at the Neville Public Museum that traveled the state. / Submitted
Lison

Seeds of Hope

• facebook.com/seedsofhopegb
• seedsofhopegreenbay.wordpress.com

Seeds of Hope gave cameras to residents, asking them to capture the perpectives on poverty in the community. The effort culminated in an exhibit at the Neville Public Museum that traveled the state. / Submitted

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Seeds of Hope works to eliminate poverty by building community awareness of the causes and conditions of local poverty, by educating the community about the impact and complexity of poverty and by facilitating collaborative action.

The effort began in fall 2008 to begin a community dialogue around poverty and self-sufficiency. Seeds of Hope grew out of the Bay Area Community Council’s 2007 report on poverty. Much like Brown County 20/20, that study identified eight areas crucial to eliminating poverty: schools, neighborhoods, housing, food security, financial security, children and families, health care, and transportation.

Following the community council report, Catholic Charities held a World Café event that focused on ways to break down barriers people in poverty face and find ways to strengthen success. Seeds of Hope is in step with the Brown County 20/20 report’s visions on self-sufficiency and human capital.

Members of Seeds wish to facilitate a cooperative effort of providers, supporters of social services, businesses, community members, and others who will advocate for the needs of people living in poverty here in Brown County. Seeds of Hope is not a provider or funder of services to the poor.

Hidden Homeless

In 2010, we gave a diverse selection of individuals cameras to capture their perspectives of the many faces and places of poverty or “struggling” in the area. The pictures taken illustrated the individual’s thoughts of what “struggling” or poverty meant. The photos show that poverty does exist and is a problem that we need to embrace and take action against.

The stories and the photos were powerful! Accompanying the exhibit at the Neville Public Museum were four events for the community: the exhibit itself which traveled the state, a poverty luncheon, the showing of “Our Hidden Community: The Hidden Homeless,” and a poverty simulation. Both the exhibit and the events drew much interest and won a Centennial Award from Catholic Charities USA.

In 2011, we gave cameras to local children, ages 12-18, and asked them to show their perspectives as it relates to the many faces and places of poverty or “struggling” in Brown County. Once again, we partnered with the museum, and the exhibit was part of the larger Museum Place Exhibit. Again, the results were powerful with the photos demonstrating that poverty is indeed a problem in Brown County.

'Own the problem'

Seeds of Hope doesn’t want your money. We want your expertise, your passion, and your time. We believe that the community must own the problem to begin solving the problem.

We all have something that we are passionate about, that we want to see change. Seeds of Hope wants to bring together passionate people to think creatively, outside of the box. A select few don’t have to tackle the large issue of poverty. Instead many can take on one of the barriers that they are passionate about that must be overcome to escape poverty.

Many of the problems that we face today, including homelessness, are symptoms of the underlying illness of poverty. This community has proven over and over again how generous we can be with financial resources. Think of what we could accomplish if we harnessed our creative resources!

In the end, it won’t be government, business, social service agencies, or a few community members that solve the problem of poverty. It will need to be a collective effort to drive poverty from our community.

We can do it! Are you up for the challenge?

Bobbie Lison is operations manager for the Green Bay Diocese Catholic Charities and runs its Financial Health Program.

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