I am happy to have volunteered in the Head Start program in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Volunteering there gave me a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that I could do a lot better in helping out other people in need. Not a lot of people cared so much about the welfare of other people, and would even bother to help others without getting paid. In our world today, almost everything revolves around money. Without money, people do not care what others are going through. People would like to keep the interactions with other people on a professional level, as much as possible, which involved money. I am glad I am not one of those people, otherwise I would not have volunteered in the Head Start. Also, volunteering in the Head Start made me feel how lucky I was, that I was not one of those families who struggle with their everyday needs.
The United States is viewed as an unequal country when it comes to giving benefits to poor people (Kerbo, 2006). Perhaps, this is so as a lot of poor people at times, take advantage of the taxes being made by the rich people. In this case, at times, people who are poor who are able to find work and be physically fit to work, are possibly being lazy and getting the benefits from the government. On the other hand, poor people who are incapable to work, get denied of receiving benefits from the government.
I would learn a lot from Kerbo’s book through learning which poor people deserve the compassion and the help that they can get through deriving benefits from the government. In the case of the families in the Head Start in Klamath Falls, Oregon, I think the families there deserved to be helped. Most of them lack the education in order to apply for jobs in society. Some of them even had severe medical conditions that made it not suitable for them to work. These medical conditions include heart disease, cancer and diabetes. With this said, they even deserved additional benefits to be received from the government to use to pay for medications and other medical expenses.
Globalization has also done its share on exploiting the poor people in this world (Kerbo, 2006). Government organizations, at times, spend too much money on technologies and advancing the possessions of their country. As a result, they become broke and they could not pull out money in order to help the poor people who deserved to be helped. I learned through Kerbo’s book about this, and hence, made me alert in investigating if this was the case of some of the poor people in Head Start in Klamath. I learned that some of them, indeed, had this problem. Their government did not know how to budget their financial resources, hence, overspending their financial resources. As a result, most of the poor people in Head Start where I volunteered as well who were qualified to get benefits were denied of obtaining such help from their state government.
Families going through poverty are encouraged to make efforts to do something to overcome their situation. A lot of the families who suffer poverty in the United States may be able to get some welfare benefits such as food stamps and unemployment benefits (Seccombe, 2007). These benefits, however, are limited when it comes to dissemination, as the state government studies the conditions of families to be given these benefits before disseminating them. Families need to establish the fact that they have exhausted all their efforts in trying to make income, but still could not, before these benefits were to be given out. It should not surface in the findings that the families are just lazy in earning an income; hence, they take the situation for granted and apply for welfare and benefits.
Through reading Seccombe’s book, I learned of the several agencies I could contact in trying to enable myself to become a volunteer at Head Start in Klamath Falls. Without knowing of the state government’s offices, which provide welfare and benefits, I would not have known how to apply for the position of volunteer at the Head Start program in Klamath Falls. Also, had it not been for the information in Seccombe’s book that the United States government provides welfare benefits to some of the poor people, I would not have known that our country was distinct from other countries in that it helps in providing for the poor people to keep them out of living in the streets.
I have heard of many poor countries around the world, which do not help out poor people who should be helped. As a result, plenty of their people are out in the streets with no place to live and begging for food. The families in Head Start in Klamath Falls were still lucky, they were not those people. Through reading Seccombe’s book, I was also able to advice poor families in the Head Start program, that should their situations change, and they are able to obtain employment, to make sure that they are receiving the minimum wage from their employers. I learned from Seccombe’s book the amount of minimum wage, which should be given out to employees to make sure that they get fair treatment in their work place.
In the work place, if employers fail to give the employees the just compensation, it can be a ground for filing a legal action against the employers. Employers should be careful in observing proper regulations in this regard. Employers should also realize that large part why poverty occurs is the lack of opportunities for employees to receive minimum wages. The expenses of a family do not compensate for the low income given by some employers. One of the concerns of the families in Head Start where I volunteered was that if ever they did find a job, it would be a below minimum wage job. According to them, if that happens and they are not able to pay off all their bills sufficiently, they will be forced to take legal action against their employers.
Honestly, if you were to ask me, I wish I could have given money to the poor families in Head Start program in Klamath Falls aside from doing volunteer work there. If only I had a lot of money, I would give it to them with no questions asked, even if it means that I would need to sacrifice some of my needs. I am not like the other people who do not give out compassion easily to needy people, and who are too self-absorbed in their own artificial needs to even care for other people.
The advice I could have given myself as I was starting the project was the following: I should have gotten in touch with a lot of entrepreneurs who could have been interested in raising funds for the poor people in order to help me out. There are some entrepreneurs who are quite interested in helping poor families that are qualified in receiving help. I am sure with some resourcefulness, I can find these right individuals who can help me in raising funds for poor people.
I think that this project will be useful to me in my future career. This is because I plan to make it a career in being an entrepreneur who would raise funds for the poor people in order to help them. I plan to make this as a side career. I will not include this experience in my resume. This is because, I believe that in volunteering at the Head Start program, I did it out of my own volition and willingness to help the poor people, and not because I would like to gain some fame in being admired for not asking for money in doing such a heroic job. I would rather be known as someone anonymous who helped out the needy at the Head Start program in Klamath Falls.
Service learning is an important tool in interacting with and understanding the circumstances of low income men and women and their families. One would never really know the situation of others unless they come to understand the other people’s needs. Through doing service to others, one gets to understand the needs of other people as they themselves provide those needs as part of their services.
Kerbo, H.R. (2006). World Poverty: Global Inequality And The Modern World System. Boston: McGraw Hill, Inc.
Seccombe, K. (2007). Families In Poverty. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.