Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Poverty Paradox

Have you ever looked into joining a "service organization"?  Around here we have Jr. League, Rotary, and Kiwanis, maybe others too but those are the big ones.  In high school, I was a member of Interact, the high school version of Rotary.  These organizations do great work for all types of people and places in our community.   This is not a knock against any of them just an interesting observation.

I recently pulled out of joining the Jr. League because I didn't have the money to join.   The fees were only $125 but that is actually a lot of money for some people,  like me.  Rotary was way more money,  something in the neighborhood of $1000. I have no clue about Kiwanis but im sure they have a membership fee as well.  Of course upit can't forget the required volunteer hours and fundraisers .which you will be expected to buy/spend money on as well. Again,  they do great work and that requires money.

Why join them?   Well it is for networking along with helping in your community.   If you are a new business person then you want/need those connections. Now think if you are a person trying to better your life,  ie get out of poverty, you need connections and networking opportunities. The people in leadership positions in those organizations basically get their businesses "free" press with each project.  They are in the newspaper or TV news all the time.   Think of all of that exposure!  Now think about the membership fee, can you drop that money? 

I honestly can't at the moment.   God willing I'll join Jr. League next year but what about other poor people who want and need the advantages of service organizations?   I find it ironic that the organizations work to end poverty or improve lives but de facto bar the people they claim to help by not having a scholarship or trading
volunteer hours for membership fees option.  

Those organizations don't advertise much as far as growing their numbers.  They are basically you gotta know someone type of thing.  You get invited or your job forces you to go.  Those of us who grew up in poverty didn't have parents running off to Rotary so it isn't really something we think to look for.  Let's be real, they are "White" savior organizations, or at least they were.  The branches around here are getting increasingly more diverse.  As younger generations take over leadership, they are pushing for diversity.  Maybe the scholarships exist if you know the right people.  You personally have a connection and they give you the secret scholarship or membership fee discount.   Again,  it is about who you know.  You have to be in the right crowd to get access to the right crowd,  not so helpful if you are just starting out.