[dropcap]Poverty is[/dropcap] when you are struggling financially to pay for your food, possessions, housing, etc. Right now, there is no such thing as a wealthy class, middle, class, and lower class. There are only the poor and the rich. So many families are in situations where they can’t make ends meet. You know when you’re poor when you’ve been in that situation for so long, you can’t seem to find a way to get out of it. Considering yourself poor is also a state of mind that you think you are in. Many people can have great lives then all of a sudden lose their job and slowly become poor. When you know that money is still needed to play off a debt, you’re in the poverty line.

[pullquote_right] You know when you’re poor when you’ve been in that situation for so long, you can’t seem to find a way to get out of it.[/pullquote_right]

For my family, I have been living in the same house for over 12 years. I remember distinctly that when we first moved there, we had financial aid from my uncle and auntie. Now, the house payment is paid solely by my parents’ SSI money and the money my brother earns from working part-time at KFC. Sometimes we’ll even need my brother and sisters from San Jose to help pitch in so we can make the house payment. My family struggles to earn enough money to get necessary items in the household like food, toilet paper, and things that we need to survive. But overall, I feel like we are happy in a sense that we are all together. So for my family, we are somewhere in the poverty line, but we have always had that financial struggle for as long as I can remember.

 Bao Xiong


Poverty to me is the lifestyle that you live in and when you cannot live that lifestyle anymore, you’re considered to be in poverty. For instance, one cannot be living off millions of dollars a year and then the next year try to live off $100,000. When you had millions of dollars you were paying off a lot of expensive things and now that you can’t live that wealthy lifestyle anymore, you think you’re poor. You’re in poverty when you live paycheck to paycheck and there is no net income where you can just put in the bank.

[pullquote_right]One person can have really nice things, and something could happen to make them think of themselves as poor.[/pullquote_right]

Poverty can vary from person to person: On the streets without a roof or even a person who makes a good deal of money. I think that it is the mindset of the individual that determines if they are in poverty. One person can have really nice things, and something could happen to make them think of themselves as poor. You can compare two friends as an example. Once lives in an apartment with parents making a decent income. The other lives in a house with parents also making a decent income. The friend with the house has nothing extra or things that they want since they have bills to pay off.  Poverty depends solely on the lifestyle that you live in and when you have to downgrade from that lifestyle, it’s hard.

Vang Yang


This whole subject is just mind opening to me due to the different spectrum of responses. Coming from my own voice can’t solidly define this subject. I love being poor. It’s an eye-opener for me to actually talk and think about life. I mean I have food, clothes, a home, and much more. As long as I have my main habitation for living, I’m fine.

[pullquote_right]It’s an eye-opener for me to actually talk and think about life.[/pullquote_right]

Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to have some nice stuff but most of it is just nothing compared to your life. I don’t get how people with money buy huge houses. You’re the only one living in it. There’s no need for five kitchens, 18 baths, and so on. My comment on this is it’s just a popular situation.

Kevin Shelton


To me, poverty means anyone who isn’t financially stable. People who have some method of surviving can still be in poverty. But at least you have something to live on.

[pullquote_right]We pay for rent and whatever we need, not what we want.[/pullquote_right]

I consider myself poor, but I’m happy being poor. My mom and I know how to control our money. We pay for rent and whatever we need, not what we want. Although we do own a lot of stuff like cell phones, a PS3, a digital camera, Dish TV, and internet, we manage to survive. We always stay positive. We survive on food with EBT, welfare to pay rent, and also my step-father’s salary from work. When we do have more money than usual, that’s where our “wants” come in, but we still are careful with what we want and the price that is on that item.

Luis Pacheco


I think what people sometimes say about poverty is rude. Sometimes they make jokes, but I don’t think it’s funny. It’s rude and it makes that person look bad.

You might be poor right now, but that means you have the chance to improve, also that rich people only think about not going down like losing money.

Ellen Carretero


I think that everyone thinks of being poor differently. I remember when I lived in a house in Clovis and my dad just lost his job. Other people would say they didn’t have money, but their thought of not having money was more about not getting the latest iPod or best clothes.

[pullquote_right]…my dad has been out of work for 3 years, and my mom is on welfare.[/pullquote_right]

I think I am poor now that my dad has been out of work for 3 years, and my mom is on welfare. We don’t have money for gas and car payments a lot. I don’t know how to drive still because we don’t have money for the classes and I’m 19. I am Type 1 Diabetic and my meds cost a lot. If we didn’t have medical free – when we stop getting it, I don’t know what I will do just to pay for meds, and I cannot live without them. It’s hard not having money and having to worry about things a lot.

Kristine Balliet


Poverty to me is someone or a family who can’t afford or struggles with bills or necessities. Spoiled kids at school really upset me. Growing up rich and spoiled sets you up for failure in terms of your personality. You end up being rude and losing track of what you are or used to be. When I see spoiled people, it makes me sick, whether it’s seeing them brag about money or hiding their personalities. They think they’re better than everyone because of their parents’ paycheck.

[pullquote_right]When I see spoiled people, it makes me sick…[/pullquote_right]

When I have kids, I’m going to raise them as if we’re Amish, or at least with 1950s technology. What does and elementary student need with a phone? My brother in-law’s nephew is so spoiled. He is 5 and whatever he asks for, he gets. The last time I saw him, he had an iPad. This set him up for failure in the future. It’s like naming your kid “Angel” and they eventually end up acting out.

(No Name) 


I think people have their own opinions to do what they think are the standards of what makes a person poor. I think it makes sense that someone that is in debt is poor. Someone that is rich and has money in the bank and could pay off any bills is not poor. Classes probably don’t matter nowadays.

[pullquote_right]My way of making money during high school was the prize money I won from talent shows and competitions.[/pullquote_right]

In the end of 5th grade, my parents divorced, and we started struggling financially. I lived off welfare and food stamp cards. I became a big gamer. I didn’t spend money that much. My way of making money during high school was the prize money I won from talent shows and competitions. When I do spend money, it would usually be on things that would benefit me. I would buy gear and clothes that would help me with my b-boying to help me get better so I would have a better chance to win again and again.

Brian Phetthavong


From what I can tell, most of the country is impoverished. A lot of families are living check to check, struggling to support themselves and keep themselves afloat. Jobs are quite scarce – no one is hiring, and if a business is hiring, very few can get the job.

In 2011, it seems as if the middle class has faded into the background of America’s socio-economic landscape. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. There is hardly, if any, middle ground. Those who could once easily get by can now have their lives completely turned upside down with the loss of a provider’s income. Within my family, this has almost always been the case.

[pullquote_right]Poor is something my mom and dad always told me we were.[/pullquote_right]

One could say I grew up “poor.” Poor is something my mom and dad always told me we were. “Poor” is something numbers and statistics always classified my family as. But how could we be poor? Both of my parents have jobs. We live in an apartment and we pay rent. We always have something in our kitchen to eat. I had thought of being poor as being completely destitute and homeless (which we actually were at one point, only for a short period of time). My parents made enough money to where we could technically be classified as “lower middle-class.”

We had food, but there wasn’t always a lot of it. We used our AC, but the energy bill was always high. My parents worked, but didn’t make tons of money – we lived check to check. We had all of these things and lived somewhat comfortably, but always ended coming up short.

Jaleesa Vickers

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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