We all love rags-to-riches stories.
Oprah Winfrey was the child of an unwed teenage mother and rose from a hard-scrabble Mississippi farm to become one of the richest women in the world.
Andrew Carnegie began 12-hour shifts in a Pennsylvania cotton mill at age 13 and through tireless hard work built a steel empire. Eventually, he became one of the world’s great philanthropists, funding libraries across the country, including one in Huntington.
Those stories inspire us, and they give us hope that drive and determination can overcome any economic obstacle. It can happen, but most of the time it does not.
Too many people born in poverty never break through to success, and their children are caught in the same cycle. There are a host of issues involved, from opportunity to entitlement and from education to well being. But whatever the factors, the outcome is at the root of many of society’s problems — drug abuse, crime, poor health — that drive up government costs and limit economic growth.
Changing that pattern will require more than just hoping for more Oprahs, and a group working to reduce child poverty in West Virginia is drilling into what specific strategies can help.
Our Children, Our Future is a statewide coalition of more than 160 groups, and social workers, law enforcement, educators, policymakers, members of the faith community and others gathered recently at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church in Huntington to talk about objectives.
For example, the group has advocated for expansion of Medicaid to more families, funding more domestic violence prevention efforts, promoting healthy foods in school and addressing prison overcrowding. The good news is that important steps were taken in all of those areas last year.
The group is now working on its targets for the 2014 legislative year and presented 18 possible statewide proposals, covering issues affecting education, health, jobs, families and the justice system. The ideas range from more recess and physical activity in school to removing soft drinks from food stamp benefits to reforming foster care and more than a dozen other ideas.
While no one legislative change is going to eliminate child poverty, it is in everyone’s interest to look for tangible actions that can make a difference.
— The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch
This editorial does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Times West Virginian editorial board.
We all love rags-to-riches stories.
Some patience will be helpful as new school calendar is set
The forecast is calling for another few inches of snow this evening. We all know what that could mean — a messy morning commute, changes in plans, rescheduling and that call that will inevitably come. School will be cancelled.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
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- Some patience will be helpful as new school calendar is set