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When Starting With Less, It Can Be Hard to Get Ahead

July 13, 2010 · 11 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

This past week, I was in the parking lot of the local high school, giving my son some tips on parallel parking when I noticed a bulldozer taking apart the tennis courts that were once there.   I was kind of surprised because I had played tennis there a year ago, and there were some cracks, but nothing too bad.

The next day, I drove by the high school I went to, and there were giant cracks going through the tennis courts, with big clumps of grass growing in them. However, there were not any machines resurfacing the courts, or anyone playing on them for that matter.

So what is the difference? Why was one set of courts destroyed with the intention of being rebuilt and the other left to nature? Well, the high school I went to not as ‘well off’ as the local high school. Therefore, the money that goes to my alma mater probably has to go to necessities like books and such, and not tennis courts. (That is just an educated guess.)

Seeing those grassy tennis courts got my mind going even more about how hard it can be for those starting out with less.  Just like how I mentioned in a previous post how one wealthy neighborhood refuses to have sidewalks and bus stops, so people taking the bus end up having to walk extra far on dangerous roads to get to their place of employment.  There are just so many aspects of life where those without much money have to struggle and work harder to make any progress, and tennis courts and bus stops are just small examples.   Not to mention that some kids in the Detroit school don’t even have textbooks to learn from, or the fact the city of Detroit is looking to close many of the parks.

So, how does someone of modest means rise up?  Besides not having adequate learning/living facilities, many  kids do not even have good role models to follow.  Without good role models, how will these kids know where to start in terms of going to college or trade school?

If you think about it, each and every one of us are lucky to be born in the United States.  However, some people are born ‘luckier’ than others.  So, next time you see an opportunity to volunteer or possibly donate some money to help a worthy cause, please think twice before saying no.  I know that time and money are both precious commodities.  However, if you are reading this site right now, chances are you are better off than many are in this country.  (I am implying that you are reading this at your job, or maybe on your laptop in the comfort of your home.)

So, If you are looking for somewhere to volunteer and don’t know where to start, you can visit the Volunteer Match website.  You can just enter your zip code and a list of volunteering opportunities will be displayed.   Many people need help right now, so please take a little time to think about how maybe you could make a difference.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Split Cents July 13, 2010 at 9:21 am

A wonderful message! I’ve also used the websites Idealist (www.idealist.org), and PSLawNet (www.pslawnet.org) for legal types. No matter what your circumstances, volunteering will enrich your life and ground you in the community.

It also builds on itself. For example, a nonprofit substance abuse treatment program with job training doesn’t *just* get individuals off the streets and into jobs. It also means that previously unpaid child support gets paid and reduces strain on public assistance programs.

There are opportunities out there for everyone, and the benefits of volunteering have so many positive “multiplier” effects on a community.


Kris July 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Great comments Split Cents! There are so many opportunities to do good, and if you can get someone to the point where they can have a productive job, that pays off in so many ways!


Budgeting in the Fun Stuff July 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Love the message too! I love volunteering, but I didn’t know about the Volunteer Match website…I’ll look at it when I get home (it’s blocked at work…).


Kris July 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm

BFS – your work needs to relax and let you focus more on blogging and volunteering! 🙂


Budgeting in the Fun Stuff July 14, 2010 at 10:12 am

I know, right?! Hahaha.


Young Mogul July 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Great post with a lot of insight and things to ponder. A lot of people don’t realize how difficult it is for those born into poverty to rise above it; issues such as inadequate schools, no transportation to get to work, dropping out of college due to family/financial issues, etc. Most people understand, from an intellectual standpoint, that everyone is not born into the best situations, but I don’t think most understand, from an emotional standpoint, what that life is really like and the not so obvious life consequences that are a result.


Kris July 13, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Young Mogul, I really believe many do not understand how hard it is to get out of that hole of poverty. I think some people think they get it, but until you walk in the shoes of someone struggling, you just don’t get it.

The school district I attended was a joke and totally did not prepare me for college. However, it was a lot better than what some people experienced.

I feel lucky every single day! I have total respect though for people that come to this country with a dime in their pocket and find a way to prosper. Seeing stories like that makes me know that anything is possible, if you have the right goals and direction.


Money Reasons July 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

My wife handles all of the charity work (a lot of our clothes does to Amvets, especially our kids stuff).

I’m lucky, at work they let use have 8 hours we can contribute towards charity every year. In the past it was even better! I got to work a week at places like boys and girls club, habitat for humanity, and other great charities.

It’s sad to hear that Detroit has been hit so bad! Hopefully, the economy will keep improving!


Kris July 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Money Reasons – That is great your work allows for 8 hours of volunteer work. You can take your kids to a soup kitchen or something too and make it a family-learning experience. There is so much opportunity to help, if people can just set aside the time to do it.


Cyril Fieldhouse July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

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