Not long ago, the students at the Children Defense Fund All People Freedom School set aside special time to learn about child poverty. They read stories, watched videos, and did their own research about the issues. It all culminated in a Day of Social Action to put their learning into practice. The students made Jeopardy games and posters, and presented their projects to the community, raising awareness around the complicated topic of child poverty.
Noah, one of the young men in our congregation, was among the students that participated that day. After it was all over, I gave Noah and his brothers a ride home. As we drove the short route, I asked them what they had been learning about at the All People Freedom School. Noah began telling me what they had been studying about child poverty. "So what do you think child poverty is?" I asked.
"Well, we learned that child poverty is important. Child poverty is bad. Child poverty is when you don't have a place to live, you don't have enough food, and if it gets really bad you might not be able to stay with your family." When I asked him to tell me more, Noah pondered for a minute and replied, "I used to be child poverty, but I'm not child poverty anymore." He went on to explain, "I have people who care about me, I have a place to live, I have food to eat, I have a family, and we are together. I'm not child poverty."
It hasn't always been this way for Noah, but he knows things in his life have changed for the better. He remembers that life 'as child poverty' was chaos, and that life is more stable for him now. His family is back together, he's not hungry, he has a safe place to live. He has the love of his family, he has friends from the All People Freedom School, he has mentors who care about him through the More Than My Brother's Keeper program, and he has a community of love surrounding him at the UM Church for All People. Things are better for him now and there is hope for the future. For Noah, that means he's "not child poverty anymore."
West Ohio Conference website
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are engaging in ministry with the poor which encourages them to be in ministry with their communities in ways that are transformative.