CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lawmakers were urged Wednesday not to cut funding to programs that help those in poverty.
Members of the Select Committee on Children and Families heard from those representing the group, Our Children, Our Future Campaign. The organization had a two-day conference in Charleston this week discussing child poverty. Much of the leadership of the group is made up of state residents who themselves have experienced poverty.
“A community is built by people helping each other and that’s what we need more of in West Virginia,” Josh Napier, a member of the campaign and the Coalfield Development Corporation said. “We need the tools such as decent housing, health care that won’t break the bank and a job that you can live off of to build a community to make it stronger and better.”
The campaign outlined for lawmakers its multi-year plan to address poverty. Sabrina Schrader of Upward Bound in Mercer County shared her emotional story about growing up in poverty and then being given the opportunity through Upward Bound to go to college where she was the first in her family to earn a college degree.
“Poverty is not a family’s fault and it is not a child’s fault,” Schrader said. “No one born into poverty asks for a life that is encompassed with suffering for everything that you need to live for everyday.”
The Our Children, Our Future Campaign will next take its ideas out into the communities before deciding its 2014 platform.