in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
From: Grace E. R., Portland, OR
I was born into poverty. My mother and father were born into poverty. Both did not make it through to high school. These two uneducated people did the best they could with what they had -- which was not much -- had us three kids, and eventually (because of alcoholism) split up, leaving us kids in foster home system from hell. This was in the 1950s. I often wonder what would have happened if my mother were educated beyond high school. She would have made better choices because she would have had a salary of her own, not been so dependent on her guy. I wonder what would have happened if my father would have been educated through high school and beyond. He would have been able to support his family. He would have had better self-esteem, and perhaps would have not turned to alcohol to mask his pain and shame. Both my parents were brilliant, but did not have a way to express themselves and serve their communities due to limitations in their educations.