The Cure for Poverty is Connection

Ian North

“One of our major findings is that in determining someone’s current mental health, the history of their childhood relational health—their connectedness—is as important as, if not more important than, their history of adversity.”
 
- Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. in What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing


A child who experiences food insecurity, unstable housing, or a lack of access to healthcare because of their financial status develops wounds. These wounds can show up later in many ways. They emerge in the form of reckless spending, hoarding, shame, or resentment of people with wealth.

We call this wounding “poverty,” and it goes much deeper than someone’s current financial status. Whether we have a lot or a little, poverty stays with us until we can address and heal it. It colors how we see ourselves, how we relate with others, and how we move through the world.

In November, we met with a young couple named Trevor and Abbey. They were engaged, and they wanted to work out their Christian faith and put their expertise in finance to good use by helping Presencia’s youth learn about money.

Ruthie and I recognized this as a deeply-felt need in our neighborhood, so we made plans to start a small class after Trevor and Abbey were married.

This week, they met with our tutoring staff and began a conversation about finances. At the beginning, our staff was unresponsive to questions and reluctant to engage in conversation. Abbey invited us to stand up and go to one side of the room if we were a spender and another if we were a saver. We each took a side and smiled as we saw others choose theirs.

As Abbey followed with other financial questions, I saw our team loosen up, begin joking, and connect with one another. Then Trevor invited us to write thoughts on the board about money, God, and how the two might be connected. By the end of the hour, a new and transformative conversation opened up within our team.

Freedom from poverty requires healing as a whole person. We create jobs so that our neighbors can meet their needs. We work with Brookhaven Presbyterian Church to give them access to fair housing. We feed children throughout the year. And we make space for the relational connection we all need for healing.

Freedom from poverty, or any other wounding our youth carry, requires connection. That’s where loving presence over time brings healing and equips the Presencia Family to lead with love!



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