Friday, April 4, 2014
Uplifting People and Communities
On March 17, 2014, HBO premiered the documentary Paycheck to Paycheck, a film about Katrina Gilbert, a 31 year old single mother of three who is struggling to make ends meet. Katrina works as a CNA(certified nursing assistant) in a nursing home where she makes under $10 an hour, caring for our elderly. She's a hardworking woman living on the brink and sometimes I just feel like some Americans just don't get it.
Before the HBO documentary premiered, I took the opportunity to watch a couple of promo videos about the film, I was already pumped to see the film, but I became even more enthralled with it. So, I decided to read the comments and I was shocked(well sort of, we all know about the trolls) to read such negativity and angered directed at the film, but most of all I was surprised that many people(especially women) would even think that she's gotten what she deserves because she doesn't have a husband, many even said, "no husband, 3 kids, what did you think would happen", I just wanted to scream, SHE WAS MARRIED AND ALL 3 OF HER KIDS HAVE THE SAME FATHER!!! But instead I took a deep breath and thought about what people were actually saying. They were saying, we only feel compassion for a widowed woman or the woman who spent her life being a homemaker only to have her husband leave her the children with nothing, but you single mothers....you can.....just...kick rocks, and you better not ask for any kind of assistance at all! I don't know maybe HBO and the Shriver Report should've said a 31 year old divorced mother of three, and many people wouldn't have been so pissed off, but to me it doesn't matter, she's still an unmarried woman working her tail off trying to raise her kids.
After watching the film on youtube, I was moved to leave a comment because I was still pissed off about the harsh comments about Katrina and the film. My comment was basically a thank you note o the Shriver Report and HBO for airing such a powerful documentary that touched on issues such as: affordable childcare, health care, food insecurity and a living wage. I also asked others to think about what they can do in their own communities to help others, and then I shared a story about how I helped a young single mother of one when I used to be an in home daycare provider, and I decided that I would watch her infant daughter at half the rate( $70 a wk). This particular client did not have a car at the time, and she had just moved back in with her parents, so she would get a ride with her mother every morning to a train station (that was a 30 min ride) and ride the train across town and catch a bus to my house Monday thru Friday. Now their were some people who thought I was a fool for charging so low, but I just wanted to help anyway I could, and besides she seemed so determined, it just felt right and you know what, within five months she was able to get her own car and an apartment. So, I said all of that to say, think about your special unique skills and what you can give back to your community. Maybe you have clothes to donate to a family in need, maybe you're a frugal shopper, volunteer your time to help a struggling family become wiser shoppers and budget, maybe while you're at your child's school, you decide to put a little extra money on a neighborhood child's lunch account because you know one of the parents just got laid off. Or simply maybe you're the man or woman behind someone at the grocery store that pays for their groceries because there isn't enough money on the debit card or EBT card to get your groceries. By the way please read this beautifully written thank you letter by Andrea Gardner to the woman behind her in line at the grocery store http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-gardner/to-the-woman-behind-me-in_b_5082769.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share
So let us remember that impoverish people aren't just single moms and the elderly and there are many reasons why people might need a little help from time to time...don't look down on them....help lift them up. Many of us live on the brink or a few paychecks away, so while we're waiting on policies to change in America, lets be that change in our own communities.
Have a wonderful day :)