Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Commentary: "Children's Quality of Life Declining"

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So according to this article on things are looking bad for America's children. Here's an excerpt:

". . .families' economic well-being has plummeted to near 1975 levels, said Kenneth Land, project coordinator and professor of sociology and demography at Duke University. 'Virtually all of that progress is wiped out through job losses, through declines in real income, and other aspects of family economic well-being,' Land said."

It's always interesting to read the comments on articles like this. They tend to start getting uber-political and turn into arguments about how the USA is turning into a socialist state due to welfare handouts. Or how people shouldn't be bringing children unto the world unless they can afford to. The real issue is that many parents have lost their jobs or have experienced reduced work hours, and even if the parents are still holding down the jobs, the rising cost of living isn't being matched by raises and bonuses. It's a time of feeling the squeeze.

The article references 1975, and while I don't know much about what was so awful about this year, I always get the sense that every so often the media will publish a story about how bad things are getting for everyone then compare it to an earlier time. Then the head shaking starts about what troubled times we're living in. 

Yes, I agree this is a difficult period, but I do believe it will pass. For my generation, I specifically recall 2001, pre-September 11th, when I first-hand experienced things going sour in the economy as members of the senior class at Wellesley started getting job offers rescinded. I started getting nervous about my prospects the following year and sure enough it was bad, but then the subsequent years were even worse. I really feel like it's been nearly 10 years of a rough patch our country has gone through and yes, children often bear the brunt of the burden. I do believe this is a temporary period in the history of our nation, but in the meantime what can we do about it especially while many of us do not have extra funds to donate?

Why not give our time? Mentoring programs like Big Brother/Big Sister and the program I was a part of at LSAFHS are still in need of help. If you're in the NYC area or know someone who is and might be interested in mentoring a middle school girl, please take a look at this opportunity: 

We need caring, responsible women who can give 4 hours a month as a Mentor in our Girl's Mentoring Program. Mentors will be paired one-on-one with a mentee, who is an at-risk East Harlem girl in grades 7, 8 or 9. The goal of the program is to expose our mentees to a larger world outside of East Harlem, and ultimately help our young people gain the confidence and skills to succeed academically and socially. Mentors take their mentees on outings to educational and cultural events in and around NYC. The program begins in September '10 and ends in July '11 (with the option to continue for a second year). To find out more, please contact Trish at (646) 672-0434 or

Are any of our readers involved with children or mentoring program? How have the children you've been involved with seem to be faring during this difficult time?


  1. I have always been very active with youth and children's ministries @ church wherever I live. I believe that mentoring with an ability to intergrate the power of Jesus Christ in the message is the most effective for me. I love being able to use the holistic approach of mentoring the total person. I commit several hours a week. I am not as active as I used to be prior to being married and especially prior to having a child, but I have found other mediums of being involved. Mentors were very vital in my life as well as my sister's, so I am required to give back!!

  2. @Marie marie, that's awesome! since the wedding i haven't been able to maintain my mentor schedule but i can't wait to return to my church's children's ministry this fall. it's amazing to think how being mentored can inspire the mentee to mentor someday.