A 21st Century Journalism Project

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Emerging from the Struggle

In People on April 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm


Gwendolyn Henderson is an African American single mother born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa. Though she is a single parent, Gwendolyn made a comfortable lifestyle for herself and her children. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Marketing and Management from Temple University and secured a good paying job as a Social Worker.  She owns her own home and vehicle and provides the essential necessities for her children.

Gwendolyn is apart of a middle class society, but in today’s tough economy, even she lives close to the poverty line. She knows what it is like to be apart of the struggle, and though she stays above the poverty line, it is no easy task. “There are people that work hard to take care of their family and still don’t earn enough money,” Henderson says. “I think I do a pretty good job of providing for my family even as a single parent, but I’m only a smidgen away from the working poor. At one point of my life I was apart of the working poor,” she says.  Read the rest of this entry »


Waking From the American Dream

In Defining The Problem, People on April 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm


Waking from the American dream illustrates the plight of many working class single parents and their children.

This video highlights the struggle working class families are faced with, and how education or lack there of effects these families.

The single parent narrating the video feels strongly about education and how it can help the working poor earn degrees and secure better jobs, she also expresses how education cuts can prevent this from happening.

Breaking a Vicious Cycle

In Organizations on April 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm


Angel is an 18 year old African American female. Though she is not considered “at risk,” the community in which she lives is considered high risk for poverty and crime. Angel lives in a single parent style household, but neither her mother nor her father are the one’s raising her. Instead her grandmother works 3pm-11pm to pay the bills and is her sole provider. School ends for Angel by 3 pm. Her grandmother is away at work and Angel is on her own.

She has choices to make. She can easily be influenced by the individuals consumed by the poverty stricken community. She can go out, engage in dangerous activities such as drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or becoming sexually active, eventually becoming pregnant, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Or she can become involved in enrichment programs that can help her with school work, self-development, and prepare and help her go on to college. Angel represents one of thousands of impoverished girls across America. For every Angel, there are hundreds of choices she can make to break  the cycle of poverty.

Gwendolyn J. Elliot founded Gwen's Girls in 2002. She passed away of cancer in 2007. (Photo provided by Google Images)

There are many non-profit, educational and enrichment programs/agencies for girls like Angel to get involved with. Gwen’s Girls is a program founded by Gwendolyn J. Elliott, the first  female and former police commander for the city of Pittsburgh. Elliott began the program in the summer of 2002 with a mission to “inspire new destiny” for at risk youth, females in particular. Read the rest of this entry »