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Dr. Ruby Payne Speaks on Poverty Initiative in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thirteen organizations brought nationally-renowned poverty expert doctor Ruby Payne to Springfield this week to discuss some poverty initiatives the City can take.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thirteen organizations brought nationally-renowned poverty expert doctor Ruby Payne to Springfield this week to discuss some poverty initiatives the City can take.

Wednesday Payne spoke to more than 1,500 educators and non-profit workers.

Payne says the community must look at where they are now but also must build goals for the future to change the poverty outcome.

Middle School counselor Gloria Morris says lessons from Doctor Ruby Payne about a proactive approach to poverty are refreshing.

Morris says she's learned understanding the perspective of those in poverty is vital.

“And there's ways to address issues that keep the kids that lagging behind there's a way to bring them up and still be humane in it and not talking down to them and treating them like you're lesser than,” says Morris.

Non-Profit worker Eric Hillgren of Community Partnership of the Ozarks says he learned insights about himself and the people he is trying to help.

“Having grown up in poverty it kind of allows me to relearn about myself but also now learning about others in the community,” says Hillgren. “Other kids in the school and also the teachers that work with the students.”

Others learned surprising facts about the disadvantages of growing up in poverty.

"Such as a 3 year old child who grows up in an affluent household in a wealthy home has a vocabulary that is more extensive than adult who grows up in a welfare household,” says Lindsey Neddenriep, with Ozarks Food Harvest.

But, Payne says a vitally important voice is often left out of the discussion.

"It is very difficult to make accurate interventions if you don't have people from poverty at the table,” says Payne.

And strides can only be made forward when a plan, a story of how the community wants its future to look is put in place.

"Getting more men in the workplace, tracking your stability, growing your critical mass, getting more people in poverty on your boards getting a larger coalition of linkages moving toward your goal,” says Payne.

Payne said, specifically, using story telling as a kind of goal setting measure was an impactful way for a community and an individual to define and change their future.

She suggested the community, a teacher and their class and even an individual person put pen to paper or use video to tell the story of how they want their life to be in five, 10 and 15 years.

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