Building the best brains possible for the next generation is the way out of poverty!

-- Dr. Louann Brizendine

The Epigenetics of Poverty and the Brain with Dr. Louann Brizendine

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Epigenetics, PTSD, vmPFC | Comments Off on The Epigenetics of Poverty and the Brain with Dr. Louann Brizendine

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The Fear of Insignificance: Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-First Century

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Fear of Insignificance | Comments Off on The Fear of Insignificance: Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-First Century

The dreams of becoming doctors and lawyers several years ago have now noticeably shifted to desires of being the next Oprah Winfrey or Mark Zuckerberg. These days, a lot of people are into showing off a popular, noteworthy self-image which results to widespread undermining of self-worth. Over the past 10 years, people have become so concerned of significance, or the lack thereof, that they start to fear every major life decision they make. Many lose confidence in their choices and others grow to become fretful of what might become of their future. Majority tend to become obsessive of how their future will turn out that they fail to enjoy and live in the now.


 Dr. Carlo Strenger from the Department of Psychology of TelAvivUniversity conducted an extensive research on this particular behavior after recognizing that it occurred even in his own clinical practice. He presented his findings in his book entitled, The Fear of Insignificance: Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-First Century. In this book, you can find his philosophies as well as illustrations of his 10-year-long investigation on unprecedented depression and anxiety.


Global Angst

Global angst has always existed long before but perhaps not as wide-ranging as today’s times. In Dr. Strenger’s book, he reports several hundred research projects from economic models to experimental existential psychology and sociological studies which all concluded to people having fear of insignificance due to global access. With the advanced technology today and the flourish of social networking, it’s radically easier to find and compare ourselves with the popular people all over the world.

Dr. Strenger explicitly discusses in the book how global infotainment is the factor to blame. He refers to today’s population as comprised of homo globalis or global men who define themselves basing on how connected they are to the current world’s infotainment network. Such has turned rating and ranking of individuals basing on scales of celebrity and wealth into a mania or obsession.

Long ago, becoming a doctor or a lawyer was the reputable profession. Today, however, even excellent achievers think of themselves insignificant the moment they compare their success story to the success stories heavily promulgated by electronic and print media. As a result, many develop unstable self-esteem, leading to an unstable society.


Pop Spiritualism

Another factor tackled in the book is pop-spiritualism which promises instant relief and change to people. According to Dr. Strenger, such resources only create more disappointment instead of solution for the existential unease. As he worded out, cheap-fix guru books that promote instant spirituality do not offer long-term solutions.


What to Do


The best way to overcome the fear of being insignificant to the world is to stop measuring achievements based on the promulgated cultural fantasies of wealth and celebrity. Forget the media craze that is centered on rating and ranking people. This does not lead to genuine fulfillment at all.  The real remedy is the process of self acceptance. It’s not easy, but through sustained pursuit for self-knowledge and maturity, it will take place eventually. More than measurable achievement, people must learn to overcome such fear by recognizing their strengths as individuals.

Just as how people are spending time developing their careers, they should also try to develop how they understand themselves and how they relate to the world. Liberal education comes very essential for this. However, it should be kept in mind that this is a lifetime process. So one can live a worthwhile, fulfilling life, he or she must be willing to engage in a lifetime process of evolving and learning.


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Poverty & PTSD: Children Born Into a War Zone

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Poverty | Comments Off on Poverty & PTSD: Children Born Into a War Zone

programs20130531100800217It is said that children who are born into poverty and those who are born into a war zone are both prone to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now, why would anyone want to make such a claim? Well, it is not a claim, but more of an actual fact despite the differing circumstances of their living conditions.

Yes, children who are born into poverty may live differently from those who were born into a war zone. Their living conditions are so much in stark contrast to each other that it is somewhat crazy to conclude that they both can develop PTSD. For example, a child living in poverty can still walk safely to school whereas a child who was brought up in a war zone may fear going outside because of the inherent danger that war poses.

It’s because those who are living in poverty do not always need to be living in really poor neighborhoods. There are varied classifications of poverty, and sometimes it is more of a financial situation rather than a situational one.

A child who is brought up in a war zone experiences the threat of death and destruction each and every day. They are in constant lookout when the next fight is going to erupt, and merely being at home won’t even keep them safe because disaster could easily spill into the comforts of their own dwelling. They are constantly exposed to the sounds of gunfire, screams, and are also exposed to the smell of death each and every day.

As you can see, the picture painted shows that they very much differ, but both are very much prone to develop PTSD. You might think that those in the war zone may be greatly affected because war in itself is quite traumatic. But living in poverty, especially generational poverty, has ways of affecting your way of thinking and being that will lead you on the path towards PTSD as well.


The basics of PTSD

What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear that someone is suffering from PTSD? Do you visualize them having been abused? Do you imagine them having been involved in some terrible accident? Do you think about them as a victim of a violent crime?

More often than not, the situations above are the ideas that would form in your head when you’re informed that a person is suffering from PTSD. However, that is not always the case. Those who have PTSD are not always victims of rape, domestic abuse, car accidents, and other “single blow” traumas. In fact, PTSD can be associated with long-term exposure to “chronic traumas” such as childhood abuse, living in a high crime area, experiencing domestic abuse, and yes, living in extreme poverty.

Trauma is a subjective experience when talking in the context of PTSD. It is an event in which a person feels cognitively, emotionally, or physically overwhelmed. In fact, an event can be traumatizing for one person but have no effect on the other. There are also cases when just hearing about traumatic events that happened to another person is enough to cause PTSD.

Think about it this way: when you are in danger, it is a very natural to feel afraid about what will happen. This kind of fear triggers a lot of split-second changes in your body to prepare it to defend against the danger it is about to face. Or, in other cases, your body changes so that you are prepared to avoid any sort of danger. It is a “fight-or-flight” response and is a very healthy reaction by the body so that you remain protected from harm.

However, in the case of having PTSD, this kind of reaction is changed or damaged. Those who are suffering from PTSD may be the person who is harmed, or the harm was done to someone they love, or the person was a witness to a harmful event that happened to a loved one or even a stranger.

You would most likely hear PTSD associated with war veterans, but rest assured it is a phenomenon that can result from a variety of traumatic incidents as well. Victims of mugging, rape, or torture are prone to experience PTSD. Not only that, those who have experienced being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, and bombings can all develop PTSD. Furthermore, even victims of natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes are prone to develop PTSD.


Living in poverty

 What does “living in poverty” really mean? Some would define it as the lack of financial resources to support a standard of living. Examples that would fall into this category include not being able to buy a supply of food for your family, not being able to provide for the purchase of vitamins you and your kids desperately need, or not being able to have enough money to buy a certain standard of housing. Basically, this kind of definition refers to not having enough for the basic standards of living.

Others would define poverty as a social condition. One good example of this would be to look back at the past. For instance, many years ago, a man would be ashamed to walk out in public without having a decent shirt put on. In other words, poverty as a social condition is not having enough money to buy what society expects you to have. For example, if you live in an affluent neighborhood but your family doesn’t own a car and you commute to school, others might perceive you as poor because you don’t own what most of your community owns.

Some would also define poverty as the impact of prolonged unemployment. Let’s just say you graduated during a recession, meaning you couldn’t secure a job that actually related to your profession. What this means is you have to search for other job opportunities so far out from what you majored in just so you could put food on the table, pay rent, and pay bills. Then when the economy seems better, you find it hard to secure a job related to what you studied because you don’t have the needed experience in that particular field.

There are also times when employers just stay stuck looking at the number of months or years you’ve been unemployed rather than your experience as a whole. They will pass you over even if you have all the skills that is needed for the job because you have not been in the work force for quite some time.


Living in a war zone

634704611697280125-iraq-children-of-war-seriesWhat are the living conditions of people in a war zone? If you are the type to watch the news on TV, listen to the radio for current events, or even read up about what’s going on in the world on the internet, you already have a vague idea of what the situation is like in war-torn nations.

One of the most common themes that exist is that violence is everywhere. Not a day would probably go by where a death isn’t reported. In other words, those who live in a war zone have a very high chance of being casualties of war. A better term for this would be the innocent victims of a war they didn’t ask for.

Everyday, there is always the chance that you feel loss and death. What’s worse, you even have not recovered from mourning the previous day and suddenly another atrocity happens. In short, living in a war zone is a constant struggle with emotions and pain that would surely leave a dent on any person, young or old.

Those who are living in a war zone are constantly thinking about ways to leave, but just couldn’t find a way to do so. Their everyday thoughts are filled with what it would be like to live in a better world so that future generations would not have to suffer. However, all these positive thinking will be promptly interrupted because there would a gun fired here or a grenade exploding there. In other words, people living in a war zone, are in constant fear for their life.

What’s even tougher is that they have to live through it as if it’s just a normal way of life. They still have to go about what they do, but with an added fear that anything can happen once they step outside. It is a daily reality for them, especially if they live in a not-so-affluent part of a war torn country. Yes, the rich can be affected by having war in their country, but they do have more privileges compared to those who live in poor conditions.


The connection between poverty and PTSD with children born into a war zone

As you may have noticed, there is a definite contrast between children who were born into poverty and those who were born into a war zone. But despite that, their situation is analogous to each other because both of them have not lived a normal life. Yes, a child from a poor family can still walk safely to school but he doesn’t have the things that his other classmates have. A child from a war zone may still go to school but is surrounded by death when he steps outside his door.

All of these traumatic experiences can build up and turn into early warning signs for PTSD. As mentioned earlier, merely being a witness to a traumatic event is enough to trigger PTSD. This being said, children born into war zones also have the tendency to exhibit violence later on in life just like a child in a poor household who is constantly witness to domestic abuse.

What’s even worse, children who live in a war zone may also take a different path in life like taking up arms and joining in a fight. It’s a sad reality, but it’s one that is not unheard of.


Studies on living in a war zone and PTSD

A couple of studies have been made into the connection between PTSD and children living in a war zone. One of this was published in the Journal of Muslim Mental Health which looked into schoolchildren from the Hebron area. The students were asked to complete the Child Post Traumatic Stress Reaction Index as well as the Gaza Traumatic Event Checklist. The results showed that 77.4% of children living in Hebron showed symptoms of moderate-to-severe PTSD while 20.5% met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for chronic PTSD. It clearly showed that the traumatic events of war were the culprit in the development of PTSD in children, and that they needed help to get through it.

Another study that was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry also looked into the effects of war on the behavior and emotional well-being of pre-school children. The study involved children between the ages of 3-6 years were selected in the Gaza Strip and were assessed using the Gaza Traumatic Checklist, Behavior Checklist, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. The results showed that pre-school children were exposed to a wide range of traumatic events, and these were closely associated with behavioral and emotional problems in the children.


Parting thoughts

 There is a clear connection between PTSD and children born into a war zone. It even affects part f their being, both physically and mentally. To illustrate that further, there is a part of the brain called the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex (vmPFC) which is responsible for regulating stress levels. However, when it is compromised – such is the case with PTSD – this region shuts down and ceases to become an effective component in stress management. And the prevention of this is the primary goal here at Helping Ourselves Win (HOW).

We strive to eliminate generational poverty through the teaching of young children about how to empower, educate, and train their brains into thinking like entrepreneurs and agents for social change.



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Mourn the Passing of Our Potential

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Bridging and Awareness | Comments Off on Mourn the Passing of Our Potential

mourn the passingFamily income has always remained one of the main factors affecting academic achievement. Not only are low-income families at a disadvantage in terms of accessing high quality education, their children also tends to be the most underrepresented in educational programs. This results to a high percentage of youth who are not able to even grasp the chance to develop to their fullest potential.

While many envision education as the absolute equalizer, this idea has rather become a myth than a reality today. As can be observed, there is substantial difference in achievement and cognitive performance between the rich and the poor. This does not only contribute to the growing stratification in who goes to and finishes college but also serve to further perpetuate the disparity between the rich and the poor.

One prime cause of the youth being unable to reap the most of their capabilities is opting out on college education. There are even high-achieving students who choose to leave out the experience of discovering countless resources and bright peers in the illustrious facilities of colleges.

Initially, you will be quick to think that it’s because their families cannot afford the advanced education and requirements. Although such is true to some extent, there are still many elite colleges who would love to offer free education to top undergraduate achievers under the impression that high school achievers from financially-deprived families are often the most hardworking and experienced youths out there.

So why don’t poorer top students give themselves a chance to hold acceptance letters from elite institutions?

  • Insufficient guidance from public high schools

Other than the issue of financial capability of the families of students, there’s also the issue concerning the counseling capacity of public high schools. Usually, students obtain information about in-state colleges from their respective counseling offices. However, with the student population of public schools, counselors are almost always overstretched. Scheduling for one-on-one meetings usually comes a challenge and even when a student does get one, he or she still cannot be assured of being suggested refined college options. All too often, counselors remain uninformed, with some even steering students away from the option of studying in elite institutions.

  • Insufficient guidance from family

Without adequate school counseling, students then subsequently consult with their families. But family guidance also varies greatly by social class. Families where nobody has ever attended college before tend to view all college degrees and educational institutions as equal.

  • Lack of confidence

A lot of top students who came from poor families fears studying at prestigious universities because of low confidence. Common concerns include top colleges being too academic or too intense that they won’t anymore have time to enjoy their social life. For others, distance is the reason, with majority elite institutions being out-of-state.

  • Clueless about financial aid

Because of the lack of access to information, many students remain clueless about existing financial aids offered by good universities. All too common are families who would have qualified for assistance but were misinformed that they didn’t anymore consider it an option.

What can be done?

For starters, institutions should at least ensure that the students and their families are given the necessary tools to stay informed college consumers. The fact that there is a need-based financial assistance designed specifically for the families across the socioeconomic spectrum should be made widespread.

Although there are organizations, colleges and initiatives pursuing good educational assistance strategies, the United States in general has yet to assume a more systematic approach. Unless this is done, students who might have had bright futures will remain slipping through cracks.


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Why How? Looking Outside Your 1% Bubble

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Bridging and Awareness, Poverty | Comments Off on Why How? Looking Outside Your 1% Bubble

Looking Outside Your 1% Bubble

Financial comfort is one step up from knowing that you possibly can make it through difficult times. Once you have attained financial comfort, what’s most likely to set out is the temptation to create your own comforts and conform to the system because it seems that the system is finally working for you.

By falling into the trap of financial comfort, you start buying more, wasting precious hard-earned money on affordable short-term entertainment and disposable commodities. Many end up squandering the products of their hard labor, thinking that what they are spending are “extras” anyway. After shelling out a few hundred on brand new clothes, if the math still looks good, there’s a vacation to consider, a brand new car and many other good things that money can buy.

Upholding financial comfort while avoiding to become a victim of consumerism is, without a doubt, difficult. Our culture has simply been set up in a way that enforces and further encourages mindless spending. Everyone is made to think that they have to be the prettiest at their high school reunions, that they have to always keep up with their new found friends, or that they have to give every single thing their children ask for. All of these are false and are actually only distracting people from the fact that the whole game is fixed and that nobody is supposed to really win.

As harsh as it may sound, you are not supposed to be rich. But if you do reach the stage, it is crucial that you do not give up. Don’t fall into the traps of comfort. Most importantly, don’t give in to the numbing repeat thoughts that you can stop now or that you have to get yourself a reward all the time. Else, you can stay caught until God-knows-when. And with your money continuously burning, you’ll eventually end up to where you first started, or worse, hungry and in debt just for the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to.

So What Should You Do?

Enjoy the things you have.

A lot of people are so caught up with getting the life they want that they fail to notice each passing day of their lives. Many of us eat in front of the television, commute without looking at each other and spend summers wishing for another week off to spend.

If you are one of the lucky ones who no longer have to worry about making ends meet, then learn to enjoy what you have. Help your relatives, your neighbors or friends. Make time for yourself and for everyone you love. Visit new places and go out for an adventure. Instead of spending your money trying to impress other people, why not invest in projects that can benefit your community? This way, you are building wealth in every sense of the word.

Keep in mind your financial plans.

Find balance between momentary gratification and long-term goals. Reevaluate your lifestyle if you need to. Take into consideration new experiences and learnings as you re-strategize or revision your financial plans.

Always resist consumerism.

With the media culture always promoting consumption, resisting consumerism can be pretty vexing. Our economic principle glorifies consumerism as showcasing rational self-interest. If you refuse to go by the latest fashion, style, car, movie or even color, people will think there’s something awfully wrong with you.

So, to help you in this endeavor, surround yourself with people who value smart spending and simplicity. After all, you are now choosing a path that will stack the decks in your favor in the near future. Find people who, like you, favor minimalism. As much as possible, prevent yourself from buying things you don’t need.


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Post Traumatic Ghetto Stress

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Poverty | Comments Off on Post Traumatic Ghetto Stress

ghetto povertyGhetto is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “a part of a city in which members of a particular group or race live usually in poor conditions.” On, the term “ghetto” is defined as “a section of a city, especially a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships.” As you might have noticed, the key feature that stands out from both definitions is the prevalence of an impoverished environment.

People who live in an impoverished environment are exposed to all kinds of dangers from the moment they are born until they grow up. Crime is a normal occurrence they hear about. Theft is most likely something they witness almost all of their lives. Now, these kinds of scenarios that occur almost every day can have adverse effects on the brain. In other words, it leads to people developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Yes, although PTSD is most likely associated with war veterans, having been to war is not the only trigger needed to develop PTSD. While it is a fact that traumas such as accidents, rape, or a violent crime are major contributors to people developing PTSD, those who have suffered chronic traumas such as being subjected to child abuse, living in an area with a high crime rate, or living in an area with extreme poverty are also prone to PTSD.

In short, people living in adverse environments have a high chance of developing PTSD. Each and every day, their lives are filled with uncertainty. What happens when they walk out of their door? What will happen once they get home? Will they meet some sort of unfortunate event on their way to school or work? Questions about safety and security usually linger in the minds of those living in poverty.

Apart from that, there’s also the question of financial and job stability. People living in a disadvantaged situation are always going to wonder whether they will have enough money to get by the next day, whether they will have sufficient money to pay for bills, and other finance-related matters.

On the employment front, they are faced with not being able to secure high-paying jobs. That is not even the worst part. The worst part is that their employment status will always remain a question. Who knows how long they can hold on to their current job? What if the store they are employed in is shut down for some reason? This will leave them jobless, and all the more important, add more stress to their current difficult situation.

One of the worst things about living in absolute poverty is that some people actually turn to violence as a result of all their experiences and frustrations. Not only that, there’s also a huge chance that they will turn to drugs as an escape. This is absolutely the thing you don’t want for any of your family members. This is why it is very important to understand the first signs of PTSD in your friends and family. This way, you’ll be able to get all the help they need so their lives can make a turn for the better, and not the worst.

The question is: what if they are already diagnosed with PTSD? The answer is that help is still very much possible. Recovery from something as serious as PTSD can be achieved as long as proper help is given. Although their brains are already wired to the negative, this can be re-wired to think about more positive things.


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Justifying the Daily Struggle of Poverty

Posted by on Feb 23, 2014 in Poverty | Comments Off on Justifying the Daily Struggle of Poverty

povertyMost people think of poverty as this distant concept that’s only worth discussing in Time magazines or political debates.  But here’s the harsh truth; poverty is not just a word in the dictionary that you occasionally use, it’s a situation that we all struggle with every single day.

Let’s start with the most basic, nutrition.

A common issue that arises with poverty is malnutrition. Of course, it only makes sense. If a person does not have enough means to support himself and his family, it also goes to say that he cannot provide good food on the table to make sure that his brood stays healthy.

This is the most basic struggle of a person with low means because malnutrition then leads to other problems. For example, when you’re not healthy, you often get sick, which means you’d have to go to the hospital often. Hospital visits mean hospital bills. Hospital visits means doctor’s fees and prescription drugs. Worse yet, sick days ultimately lead to loss of salary. The significant factor here is for minimum wage workers whose every daily salary counts. A single day’s worth of loss could mean a LOT for his/her family.

Another consideration besides nutrition is emotional and psychological health. It’s not uncommon for rich and spoiled heiresses to suffer from depression and substance addiction. But a huge percentage of people who are depressed or suicidal come from the poverty line.

It can’t be expressed by words but the emotional pain and grip that comes from having less or no money is only something you can relate to if you’ve been there. It’s not just about feeling helpless, but feeling hungry, tired, and emotionally drained at the same time.

But perhaps the biggest struggle of belonging in the poverty line is that, through all your hard work, through every sweat and blood you’ve put through just to make it through the day, you still won’t get out of that poverty line.

How so?

The most pressing concern for people in poverty is that there’s around 40% chance that they’ll stay poor or get poorer. That’s not a very good motivator, yes? Why work when there’s a big chance that you’ll only have enough to make it through the day? But then, you DO have to work to feed yourself and your family, pay for your home, pay for school and a good life, etc. So where do you strike the line?

As heavy as that burden feels, it’s an even bigger struggle when you’re drowning in debt. Poverty makes your financial activities so difficult that you’re forced to apply for loan after loan. Soon, you’ll be drowning in a vicious loan cycle, struggling to keep track of your income that’s being deducted for interest rates alone.

Debt cycle is the biggest daily struggle for people in poverty, as far as finances go. It encompasses every living expense, from auto loans, student loans, housing loans, down to personal and hospital loans. Every single loan a person takes out digs him deeper into a deep poverty grave. And mind you, this is not an easy situation to get out of.

The depressing reality of poverty is that it breeds more sociopolitical and environmental issues. It is not a single problem that’s isolated from other problems we face today. Poverty, that is modern poverty, has crippled many countries from development and hindered many businesses and industries from thriving.

Poverty isn’t just an embarrassing set of statistics you see on newspapers. It’s happening daily, it’s happening right now. The question is, what will you do about it?


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The Desperate Mind of Poverty

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Poverty | Comments Off on The Desperate Mind of Poverty

What’s surprising is that most people perceive “poverty” as people wandering through the streets in greasy clothes, puffing on cigarettes, carrying signs, begging for pennies, and ignoring the faint hum of hunger on their bellies.

The Desperate Mind of Poverty

The Desperate Mind of Poverty

But the stark reality is, poverty doesn’t just exist on the busiest streets of our cities downtown. It’s scary that it’s such a prevalent situation in most countries. It doesn’t just incorporate “not having money”, but it includes “minimum wage”, “malnutrition”, “famine”, “depression”, “lack of social mobility”, and a cornucopia of other sociological problems that equate to what we now know as poverty.

It’s not just a singular concept, but multiple ideas. How so?

Minimum wage is a big problem in most developing countries (a kind euphemism for third world countries) because families are distraught and suffering from lack of sufficient income. Earning less than 20% of the amount you’d need to feed your wife and children in a day is not just an issue for a single family, but for millions.

The alarming part is that economies are going from bad to worse, at least some of them. In a gist, employers are having a hard time channeling their capital and reaping profits while employees are less stable in their careers. Minimum wage in jobs is just the cream of the crop.

Malnutrition is another concept that branches out from poverty. Basically, when you don’t have enough money to sustain and feed your family, family members go hungry and essentially become malnourished. You can’t purchase good, organic, nutritious food, that’s the main problem.

It’s part of the academic program in most primary education institutions that children be made aware of proper nutrition and exercise. But regardless of being aware of what’s healthy, it’s about putting healthy food on the table. Often, the parents/providers don’t have enough on their pockets to put that kind of food on the table. It’s simple mathematics: money =  good food = nutrition

Famine is the more crucial issue when discussing poverty. It is such a sensitive topic, even discussed in guilty whispers and contrived communiqués. But while unequal distribution of resources is another issue, we can’t deny the fact that a single night of food leftovers in Las Vegas would be enough to feed South Africa for a year.

In fact, famine is as big an issue as poverty, the two both simultaneous and coexistent. One cannot exist without the other; poor people are essentially hungry and hungry people are essentially poor.

Lastly, depression and lack of social mobility go hand in hand in finalizing the seeming death blow of poverty. The phrase “money can’t buy happiness” is a tad bit of a ruse. After all, you can’t be happy when you’re starving, or sick, or helpless, or homeless. Your children won’t be happy when they’re laboring to put food on the table instead of enjoying their right to go to school. More to the point, poverty spells a lack of social potential. Unfortunately, communities run on classes, it is how our societies work. Different caste systems, but all have two common factors: the rich and the poor. It’s the lower class individuals that have less social mobility, meaning if you’re poor, there’s a 42% chance you’ll stay poor.

This desperate and almost hopeless state of poverty is not just a problem in a single country, but the entire human population. It’s alarming that with so many resources in our midst and impressive technologies within our reach, we have yet to solve the BIGGEST issue we’ve faced since civil war eras erupted.

We can’t keep worrying over statistics and reading articles and not do a single thing about it. In the end, modern poverty affects us all.



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The Detriment of Generational Poverty

Posted by on Jan 18, 2014 in Poverty | Comments Off on The Detriment of Generational Poverty

The Detriment of Generational Poverty

The Detriment of Generational Poverty

By: Philippe SHOCK Matthews

The word “poverty” produces different images in a person’s mind. One could look at it as a financially difficult situation while others will define it by how and where one lives. It doesn’t even help that the definition of poverty in most dictionaries refers to “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.” (Merriam Webster)

In short, there is no clear definition of how someone can be considered “in poverty” because there are a lot of scenarios to consider. For example, the US Census Bureau establishes different poverty thresholds depending on family size. In fact, being considered poor in one state in the US might not hold true in another state. That being said, giving a real definition of poverty is a tough thing to do.

However, poverty can be broken down into different types, and one of them is generational poverty. This is defined as having been in poverty for at least two generations. It is also associated with several key factors such as:

  • Hopelessness – When people think that their life could not get any better, they tend to lose motivation which eventually leads them to believe they’re hopeless. In a worst case scenario, people who have lost hope may even turn to shady means just to survive.
  • Surviving rather than planning – Whether it’s finding money for food or looking for a place to live, those living in poverty have an attitude of survival. They think in a daily process of surviving the day, rather than mapping out their future.
  • Counterproductive traditions – Sometimes, those who were born into poverty inherit” the situation of their ancestors. For example, someone might not get the chance at an education because that has been the case in their family. Instead, they settle for looking for jobs to survive.

What causes poverty?

The cause of poverty cannot be pinpointed to just one factor as there are a lot of things that can lead to this type of situation. In fact, there are some causes that are reversible, but there are others that are just hard to get over. And this is speaking for both developed and developing nations across the world. That being said, here are some of the causes of poverty:

  • economic situation of the country
  • lack of education
  • overpopulation
  • epidemic diseases such as AIDS and malaria
  • environmental problems

One could also make a case for disasters as a cause for poverty. Take the devastating effect that typhoon Haiyan had on the Philippines. The natural disaster resulted in people losing not only their homes, but their means of livelihood as well. This has led some people to live in absolute poverty because they no longer have a roof over their head, no place to buy food, and almost no room for getting an education.

What are the effects of poverty?

It’s not a secret that the effects of poverty are serious, and one of the most affected is the health of a person. Those who grew up with absolutely nothing suffer more severe health problems than those who live comfortable lives. Not only that, they suffer them more frequently.

Those born into poverty are more likely to have a low birth weight, which is sadly associated with mental and physical disabilities.

Those who were raised in poverty have a tendency to miss school because they are almost always sick.

Those who are living in absolute poverty, meaning having no homes, don’t receive proper nutrition and immunization which leads them to develop health problems.

Apart from health issues, other effects of poverty include:

  • crime
  • hunger
  • illness
  • illiteracy
  • unemployment

What are the consequences of poverty?


It’s a sad thought that crime is one the most negative consequences of poverty. This happens because a “culture of poverty” develops among families who struggle just to meet their basic needs. People develop beliefs that their chances are limited for future success. And one of the most disheartening things people turn to is crime as an alternative to getting employment.

It’s not even a secret that there is a direct link between poverty and crime. What’s even worse, wherever you find poverty, surely you’d find crime as well. Citing data from the hard times in Europe from 1975 to 1995, it was found that there was a big tendency for theft and violence among the uneducated youth who were also unemployed.

However, this isn’t the case when people are given the opportunity to stay in school. It shows that there is a lot less violence the more time is spent at school.


Another consequence of poverty is the lack of education. In fact, there is a huge link between the two. When children who live in poverty start school, they are less developed compared to those who grew up in a family with a high income.

Of course, factors such as poor health care, an unsafe environment, limited access to good nutrition, and the scarce availability of books definitely have a big impact on the development of a child. In particular, their cognitive development and ability to learn is heavily affected.


It’s a sad thing when people start to hate themselves for the situation they are in. It’s not hard to blame them when they start hating themselves because they couldn’t get out of the bad place they’re in. This is why it’s important for everyone to get an equal opportunity so no matter what their status is in life, at least there is hope for success.


One of the worst consequences of poverty is not being able to provide food for the family. Without earning sufficient money to feed a number of children, it’s no wonder why children are starving. And even worse, it is no wonder why people turn to stealing and other malicious activities just to put food in the bellies of their family.


The job market is particularly difficult for those living in poverty. As mentioned above, there is a lack of good jobs for those who live in poverty. This fact makes it hard for them to climb out of being at a disadvantaged situation. Even worse, the absence of good employment opportunities will most likely ensure a cycle of poverty. What’s even more disappointing is that the cycle will continue on until the pattern can be broken.

Mental health issues

Another area that can be severely affected by poverty is mental health. Living in a difficult situation is a stressful situation. People who live in poverty are more likely to see a fair share of job loss, drug addiction, and death. All of these can lead them to feel anxious or depressed about their situation. Even worse, when they experience all these negative things as a child, it can carry well onto adulthood.

One of the problems with children brought up in poverty is the amount of time their parents can spend with them. Since mothers and fathers are struggling to make ends meet, they often cannot attend to their own children and leave them elsewhere – be it day care or with a neighbor – just so they can look for money to put food on the table. The lack of quality time with parents leads children to have low self-esteem and have difficulties forming relationships with others. Moreover, children who continue to spend time with other individuals instead of their parents leave a negative impact on their emotional health.

What can be done?

Generational poverty cannot be ignored. It’s tough for someone to live in poverty and then have to see their children live in the same situation. That being said, it’s not hard for those living in this situation to blame society and the government for the state they’re in. However, their complaints seem to fall on deaf ears leaving them to think of other ways to survive.

So, what exactly can be done to get people out of a slump or at least give them opportunities so they can build a better future?

  • It all starts with the government

The government should have programs that address poverty. There are lots of things that can be done, especially when speaking of health and nutrition.

When it comes to nutrition, the government can provide programs that help young children get access to good nutrition. Not only that, they can also help pregnant women get the right nutrition to ensure they have healthy babies.

Another thing that can be done is to provide affordable health insurance for those living in poverty. This way, they at least have something to fall back on in case any of their family members falls ill or needs medical attention.

  • Help from non-profit organizations is useful

Over the years, a lot of these groups have been really helpful in giving aid to those in need, and their help in whatever way possible is always appreciated. They can help in terms of education, health, and overall development.

For example, let’s use the program of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The organization works hard to help children realize their potential and build their futures. They do this by doing a lot of mentoring between an adult and a child. They have been doing this for over 100 years as well.

Another organization that has been helping low income children is the Salvation Army. They have several offerings such as camps for at risk children. In these camps, kids can learn a lot of things in various fields, including arts, crafts, music, and sports.

  • Help from fellow citizens

Of course, it’s also important for fellow citizens to help whatever way they can. First, they can offer a little bit of money to different organizations that help the less fortunate. Whatever amount that can be contributed will be able to help a particular organization drive their cause forward and help more people.

Second, they can spread awareness. It’s not a secret that social media is a very big thing with everyone these days. And simply sharing information about a cause through Twitter or Facebook is enough to generate attention. Even though this is a very simple way of helping, getting the word out to as many people as possible is more than enough help.

Third, they can offer their time and volunteer. A lot of organizations look for volunteers to help them with their cause, and donating a little of one’s time whether it be over the weekend or summer will be very much appreciated. Volunteering can be as simple as participating in feeding programs, teaching kids how to read, or helping them learn about sports.

Final words

If the continued lack of good jobs for those living in poverty persists, it will be tougher for people to climb out of the situation they are in. Nonprofits such as the HOW Movement and ordinary citizens can help all they want, but unless problems such as insufficient access to education, food, and employment are properly addressed, the problem regarding poverty will continue to exist. When this happens, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when people turn to illegal means as a way to stay alive.


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PTSD and the Poverty Centers of the Brain

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Poverty, PTSD | Comments Off on PTSD and the Poverty Centers of the Brain

PTSD and the Poverty Centers of the Brain

PTSD and the Poverty Centers of the Brain

By: Philippe SHOCK Matthews

Is it safe to say that those born into the life of poverty suffer the same symptoms as those who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? After all, poverty is a state of being while PTSD is a mental health condition. However, in the April 2008 issue of Medical Care, an article mentioned that PTSD was common among poor, urban residents.

Isn’t PTSD more associated with those who have seen military combat or any form of assault? Why is there a connection made between a person’s state in life with the condition?

Before all these questions can be answered, it’s best to look closely at both poverty and PTSD.

Basic definitions


Opening up a dictionary or looking up for the definition of poverty online will give you more or less the same definition. It is defined as the “state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials to enjoy a minimum standard of life and well-being that’s considered acceptable in society.”

Poverty status in the US are calculated by the US Bureau of Census. Based on Statistical Policy Directive 14 of the Office of Management and Budget, the US Census Bureau has a set of money income thresholds that varies depending on family size and composition to determine poverty. If the total income of the entire family is less than the threshold, then that family as well as every individual in it is considered to be living in poverty.


There are lots of sources to refer to for PTSD definition, and one of them is the Mayo Clinic which defines it as a “mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event.” To add another PTSD definition, the National Institute of Mental Health states that PTSD “develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm.” Just to add one more PTSD definition, WebMD says that it was once called “shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome” and is further described as a “serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened.”

As you can see, every one of the definitions of PTSD point to a “terrifying event” in a person’s life. To link this to poverty, it’s time to look at some PTSD symptoms as well as the poverty situation.

PTSD symptoms and the poverty situation

The symptoms of PTSD

Most of the time, PTSD symptoms begin within three months. However, there are cases when the symptoms appeared years after the incident happened. The signs of PTSD are often grouped into the following:


This is when people with PTSD continually relive what they went through in their thoughts and memories. They constantly recall the trauma through flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. Things such as the anniversary date of the event can be a trigger for them to relive the ordeal they went through.


This is when a person avoids people, places, thoughts, and situations that remind them of a traumatic event. This leads them to feel detached and isolated from family and friends. Furthermore, they lose interest in things that used to give them joy.

Increased arousal

This is when a person experiences excessive emotions. These include having problems relating to others, finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep, having a hard time concentrating, being very easily startled, and showing outbursts of anger. Not only that, signs of PTSD in this category also includes physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea, muscle tension, and elevated heart rate.

Who usually gets PTSD?

It’s important to note that everyone has a different way of reacting to traumatic events. That being said, it’s possible for someone involved in a tragic situation not to develop PTSD. Furthermore, the help or support that a person who experienced or witnessed a trauma gets from family and friends greatly influences the development or non-development of the condition.

That being said, PTSD was first brought to the attention of the medical community by veterans of war, which is why the condition was originally called “shell shock” and “battle fatigue syndrome.” Due to the nature of their work, is not a wonder why PTSD in soldiers is common. They bear witness to hundreds, even thousands of killings and become participants in taking lives, especially in war. Memories of events like these can haunt a person even after everything is done

Now, even if PTSD in soldiers is quite common, anyone who has experienced a traumatic event in their life are at risk of developing PTSD. The following are prone to develop PTSD:

  • people who have been abused as children
  • people who have been repeatedly exposed to situations that threaten their life
  • people who have been victims of physical and sexual assault

As you can see, PTSD in children is also an issue. The development of the condition can be caused by the following:

  • being a victim of sexual or physical abuse
  • being witness to violent crimes in the area where they live
  • experiencing disasters such as car crashes, fires, floods, and school shootings

Symptoms of PTSD in children include the following:

  • fear of being separated from a parent
  • loss of skills that have been previously acquired (e.g. toilet training)
  • sleep problems and nightmares
  • development of new phobias or anxieties that are unrelated to the traumatic event suffered
  • irritability and aggression
  • play that involves themes of the trauma they experienced
  • aches and pains with no determined cause
  • acting out the traumatic event through drawings, stories and play

Now, studies have shown that 15-43% of girls and 14-43% of boys experience at least one trauma in their lives. Of these children, 3-15% of girls and 1-6% of boys develop PTSD.

It’s also important to remember that the above-mentioned can also be applicable to teenagers and adults. Teens who may have been witness to the suicide of a close friend or an adult who saw firsthand the death of a loved one are all prone to develop PTSD.

How the brain processes PTSD

It’s a fact that the brain is responsible for us to function normally. Now, when trauma is inserted into the equation, the normal flow of processing is interrupted. The brain goes into defensive mode, or in other words, it’s fighting to survive. What happens is it tries to survive at that moment, but PTSD puts the brain in survival mode for longer than expected, and this leads to all sorts of trouble associated with PTSD.

This just shows that it’s very important to address symptoms of PTSD as soon as possible before it escalates and becomes a major disaster.

After all this has been examined, how is PTSD linked to poverty?

First, it helps to look at the common causes of poverty, as well as its effects.

Causes of poverty

Poverty can be caused by a lot of reasons, some of them solvable while others will take a whole lot of time before they can climb out of their situation. That being said, here are some of the most common causes of poverty:

  • overpopulation
  • inadequate education
  • insufficient employment opportunities
  • high standard and cost of living
  • environmental degradation
  • disasters
  • inequality

Effects of poverty

  • homelessness
  • health issues
  • crime and violence

The link between poverty and PTSD

Based on the effects of poverty alone, you can see why those who are born into poverty are at high risk of developing PTSD. Some of those living in poor conditions might see their fair share of violence, whether it be to a family member or a close friend.

Given that developing health issues is one of the effects of poverty, it’s no wonder that people living in this kind of situation can be a witness to death in the family. Now, witnessing someone die can be categorized as a traumatic event in one’s life and if not addressed whether by other family members or a support network of neighbors or friends can spiral out of control.

When one lives in poverty, financial instability will always be an issue. Having little money to pay for all the expenses and other financial responsibilities can be emotionally taxing. Couple that with the unavailability of good jobs or the difficulty of keeping a job for that matter then what you have here is a recipe for a breakdown.

People living in poverty are also prone to being threatened with a weapon or being involved in a life-threatening accident. Even worse, they are also victims of physical and sexual assault.

What’s the difference between a war veteran suffering and those born into poverty when it comes to PTSD?

Someone who has lived in poverty all their life rarely have the opportunity to enjoy what normal life is. Usually, children born into poverty are forced to work in order to survive. Although some may go to school and get an education, skipping school is an issue as well because of illness, financial issues, or any other family-related matter. You can call it being born into a PTSD-prone world.

A war veteran, on the other hand and for the most part, has experienced what it’s like to live a normal life. They enjoyed heading to the movies on weekends, visiting different states on vacation, partying with friends and the like. While experiencing a traumatic event prior to being shipped off to war is quite possible, nothing probably prepares them for the devastation that comes with military service.

With those who are born into poverty, death and destruction surrounds them, and it’s equally taxing.

Is there a solution?


Psychotherapy is one of the best solutions for those who have developed PTSD. What happens is that the suffering party gets to talk to a mental health professional so they can get the treatment they need. A psychotherapy session usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but depending on the situation, can take longer than that. Sessions can be one-on-one or done in a group.

Help of family and friends

Family and friends can lend an ear to someone who is experiencing PTSD. They can start by letting the person know that they are willing to hear out their feelings. However, it’s important that they don’t push too much because it wouldn’t help to do so.

Another thing that can be tried is getting help from organizations like Helping Ourselves Win (HOW) Movement. Here, we empower, educate and train young adults to realize their full potential by breaking through psychological, emotional, economic and environmental barriers.

The final note

PTSD is a tough thing to go through, but through early intervention and added help, it’s a condition that can be overcome.


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Dr. Stanley H. Block on Bridging and Awareness

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Bridging and Awareness, PTSD | Comments Off on Dr. Stanley H. Block on Bridging and Awareness

Dr. Stanley H. Block

Dr. Stanley H. Block

Listen to this exclusive interview with Dr. Stanley H. Block on Bridging and Awareness from the Philippe Matthews Show.

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Is There a Connection between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bullying?

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in PTSD | Comments Off on Is There a Connection between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bullying?

By: Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez

Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez

Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez

All any child want in life is love, happiness and security. Living our lives without harsh intrusions and horrific sufferings is something most people would cherish as a great life – “Life can’t be a bowl of cherries” for ALL of us, right? We know the answer to my question all too well. The answer is “Right.”

But, suppose a child is on the outside looking in traumatized by the release of all the chaos and drama moving about them – They are a young, frightened and astonished into sheer awe and disbelief – OR, is it you – now all grown up who perhaps once lived within this chaos, but somehow found your way – Yes, you jumped out of a vicious life cycle (whatever one deems as such).

Although I’m speaking on the premise that not ALL of us experience the same issues in life, and I certainly can’t claim that each and every one of us will ever go through turbulence, however, there are those among us who have had, and who may still experience chaotic lives. There are variables in life and perhaps risk factors that cause a few among us to become probable to events that some may not ever experience. Yes, I want to preempt this message clearly prior to moving on.

We know however, traumatic experiences may be especially true for our children who are born into generational poverty. You may know people among us who, due to no fault of their on, experience life’s astonishing heartaches which sets them off into feelings of unawares they never thought possible.

Later in life, some might find themselves asking, what is this thing — this monster feeling that entrapped my very mind, soul, and body, that somehow lured me into thinking and perhaps doing the unimaginable. What things? Well, all sorts of crazes that may include, but aren’t limited to, acts of bullying, rape, molestation, hate, assault, physical abuse, kidnapping, war and attacks on others, and/or unruly, drastically inappropriate, deliberate, careless behaviors. Is this list disturbing to you? I meant for it to be because we must talk about on-the-edge issues and stop passing the buck, or putting band aids on matters of importance.

So what is this author speaking of? I’m speaking of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its association with acts of violence, menacing and/or acts of bullying behaviors. Could there be a connection between PTSD and Bullying? Who knows for sure? Since this topic is very new in terms of its connection to bullying, I’d go on to say this subject is on my list of topics categorized as marginal, but it is worth investigating. When we inspect and consider issues that plague us, we become stewards of change, or change agents for a better tomorrow.

Now, am I saying that all people who experience PTSD disorder react in volatile ways described above? No, I’m certainly not suggesting this, but determining a connection and trigger of bullying and/or inappropriate damaging behaviors will help us offer hope. So, here goes:

What we know is this: Children aren’t born into this world destined to partake in acts of violence. There has to be variables or antecedents in one’s life that activates, and/or elicits such acts.

Let’s see if we can determine answers to the following questions? What was the trigger? What was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back? What tipped this person (boy or girl) over the edge? What set them off? (So to speak.)

Of course, we all become stressed from time to time (it’s just life), but the quantum leap act that I’m speaking of here has one so traumatized that a person just loses all sense of direction to the point of giving up on self and life. These are the upsets that are so overwhelming to a person that they feel life isn’t worth living. Here, I’m speaking of a person that feels empty inside. They feel exposed to the world, scared, and they lose all sense of safety, belief, faith and hope.

Although PTSD can happen to anyone for a number of reasons (a normal life, but a sudden car accident in which a close loved one dies); again I want to remind you that my focus within this particular writing is to dialogue and discourse about the possibility and connection between PTSD and bullying. What is the effect on a person who turns toward acts of violence and bullying behaviors? What does this action do for them? Is it somehow a sense of relief, or “I got back at someone (regardless if the victim was the perpetrator, or not) for making my life such a mess.

When our children are born into or come into turbulent dysfunctional homes where they witness and/or are victims of an array of hurtful and harmful doings, they may become numb to healthy feelings. Children have the same needs that adults have for feeling safe. When they feel threatened and scared out of their wits, and thrown into a world-wind of shattered, fearful conflicts and battles, they may react haphazardly to these abnormal behaviors to a point of remaining in psychological disbelief, fright and distress.

O’er, not all children who experience PTSD experience major incidences as described below, but one can only imagine the plight of abnormal behaviors that may befall when these sorts of issues arise.


Think for just a moment on these Scenarios.


Scenario I

Suzy’s mom and dad just recently divorced. Although Suzy longed for her parents to remain together so they could continue dwelling as a family, her parents grew apart. Suzy’s parents always ensured her life was as normal as possible. Although they were divorcing each other, they weren’t divorcing Suzy. Suzy’s parents had a friendly divorce while respecting each other’s wishes for Suzy.

Months later, Suzy’s mom is dating again and decided to move her new boyfriend into their home. One morning when Suzy’s Mom left for work, she left Suzy home with her new boyfriend, and the unimaginable happened. Her Mom’s boyfriend beat, choked, and severely raped Suzy.

Now, Suzy has become very depressed, angry and feels ashamed of her body. She has outbursts and cries a lot at school. When children get too close to Suzy she becomes irritable. None of the other children seem to know what is going on with Suzy. The teacher doesn’t know how to help her.

Scenario II

Marks Dad is an alcoholic who becomes a drunken stupor on a daily basis. To top that off, he is very violent and becomes abusive. Marks Dad beats him, his Mom, and siblings all the time. Mark loves his Mom and siblings. He loves his Dad too, but hates his actions so badly he now despises him. Whenever Mark tried to intervene and help his Mom, his Dad turned on him giving him a beating for hours.

One day when Mark’s Dad was in a drunken rage, he took out his hunting rifle and shot his Mom in the head as she begged for her life. Mark witnessed this event. Mark’s Dad went to prison for 5 years. Mark and his siblings had to go and live with his grandparents. What a life disruption!

When Mark’s Dad was released from prison, he tried to come for his children. Mark doesn’t want to have anything to do with his Dad. Mark feels betrayed by his dad. For years Marked walked around numb with mixed emotions. How can his Dad say that he loves him and his siblings when he took their Mom away from them?

Important Points

We must also keep in mind that PTSD can occur when something as simple as a child’s fear of being separated from his/her parents. Again, we must ask ourselves an important question – “Why?” Did the parents give the child a reason to sense this fear? Was the child left alone often, or left with family members or friends who weren’t kind to the child in some way?


Could it be possible that PTSD is related to other health related concerns? This is yet another question worth our consideration.


These are just a couple examples and points of how sudden upsets may drive and instigate children into abnormal behaviors they may not have chosen to partake in when life was normal.

Children who become astonished at what they’ve experienced may have a very difficult time dealing with and managing their emotions. Wouldn’t you? Instead of dealing with their sudden disrupts normally, they may experience increased unease, and disturbing provocation. This may be the time when educators notice unrest and inappropriate bullying behaviors towards others. The child is now irritable, shame, harboring a sense of blame, guilt, hate and perhaps even jealousy of classmates who appear to have sound normal lives (a memory some once had). You’ve heard the old cliché, “Misery loves company.”

When children retort to unwarranted behaviors as a result of trauma, we must be willing and ready to aide and assist them with effective coping strategies. We may be able to help get therapy for children and their families. We must remember, however, our support must be ongoing, steadfast and consistent. Children that experience traumatic life upsets to the point of PTSD may need to talk. We must have listening ears that do not become weary of hearing their stories, and we must make undivided time for them.

Regardless of the spark that ignited or generated negative behaviors, the connection of PTSD and bullying is a topic that we must not bury in the back of our minds. Educators and health professionals alike must work tirelessly together for solutions unlocking the unknown and pledging to labor and toil closely with children and their families for hope and transformation.

Parents would be wise to consider, rethink and forecast important decisions which could adversely and negatively affect children and their overall safety. Children depend on us for safety. We are their advocates. Of course when things happen beyond our control such as death, car accidents and the like, we have to help our children cope with every day issues just as any other person, or child would have to under normal circumstances.


About the Author

Author Cherrye S. Vasquez is a public school administrator and an adjunct professor. She is a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Education in Special Education; and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology. Vasquez specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician. She lives in Houston with her husband, Roy and her daughter, Kelly.

Vasquez’ platform centers on diversity and bullying issues. She feels strongly that children should love and have pride of who they are, and believe in themselves and their identity. Empowerment is essential to healthy wholesome development.

Author’s Contact Information

  • Website
  • 713-628-2908
  • Skype: BooksThatSow


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How to Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in How to Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off | Comments Off on How to Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off


How to Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off (Kindle Edition)I am Philippe Matthews’, Executive Director of  the How Movement, which is dedicated to eliminating generational poverty from the minds of our young people and give them the mental and technical tools to help them reach their highest potential!

I have re-authored an exclusive Kindle eBook entitled, How to Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off: Featuring Stedman Graham that I would like to share with you.

35% of the proceeds from the sale of this Kindle ebook will go to the How Movement Programs.

Please download a personal copy for yourself and share this book and message with anyone you know who shares our vision.

The book features seven, self-made millionaires, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Joseph Janiczek, Bob Proctor, Robert G. Allen, Robert Kiyosaki and Dr. Cuttie Bacon III along with a bonus chapter featuring Stedman Graham to positively enhance your life!

Film-Strip-verticalHow To Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off is a compilation of my most profound personal interviews with the elite wealth builders of our time. I wrote this book to teach people what they have never been taught in school, what most middle class and poor families will never know, and how once you acquire the correct financial knowledge, how simple it can be to immediately implement it into your daily life.

The book has been endorsed by many names you may recognize:

“Part of leadership is overcoming your fear of failure. How To Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off will help you face potential setbacks with proactive strategies where failure is no longer an option in your life.”
— Stedman Graham — Chairman and CEO S. Graham & Associates

“Millions are available to you and Philippe makes the path to wealth effortless.”
— Mark Victor Hansen (Co-creator #1 New York Times best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul®)

“This powerful, practical book will give you ideas and insights you can use immediately to begin moving rapidly toward financial independence.”
— Brian Tracy (Author of The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success)

“Philippe, the Worldwide Web is energized because of your creativity and dedication to empowering others. I am pleased that I have been able to contribute…and I thoroughly enjoy the work of these fine authors you are publishing. Your latest book ‘How To Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off’ is so timely, and so necessary. Unfortunately school does not teach people how to earn money. And money plays such an important role in our life. Your book will help the reader understand that anyone can become wealthy by developing and using the faculties God gave us.”
— Bob Proctor (Author of You Were Born Rich)

“After reading the 7 self-made millionaires in Philippe’s book, you will get up off of your if’s, your and’s and your butts and realize that you can make millions regardless of current financial situation.”
— Robert G. Allen — Author of the New York Times bestsellers: Nothing Down, Creating Wealth, Multiple Streams of Income and Multiple Streams of Internet Income

“Philippe Matthews is creator of the most powerful website in America. Philippe…You are the ‘Champ’ of positive motivation. Thank you for taking the time to empower all the rest of us.”
John St. Augustine — (Radio Producer on Oprah Radio, Author: Living an Uncommon Life: Essential Lessons from 21 Extraordinary People)



You do NOT need a Kindle to read the book! You can still read it for free on any computer or tablet using Amazon’s free software available here.



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Eliminating Generational Poverty

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Poverty | Comments Off on Eliminating Generational Poverty

The How Movement Infographic

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Understanding Learned Helplessness with Dr. Brian King

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 in Learned Helplessness, vmPFC | Comments Off on Understanding Learned Helplessness with Dr. Brian King

Understanding Learned Helplessness with Dr. Brian KingLearned helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[1] Organisms that have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.[2]

Listen Live Now!

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Cuddle Your Kid!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Learned Helplessness, Poverty | Comments Off on Cuddle Your Kid!


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Hugs: a potent anti-poverty tool | Deseret News

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Poverty | Comments Off on Hugs: a potent anti-poverty tool | Deseret News


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Can You Be Addicted to Poverty?

Posted by on Jun 1, 0201 in Poverty | Comments Off on Can You Be Addicted to Poverty?

addicted to poveryThe question in itself will definitely throw you off. Who would want to be addicted to poverty, right? Each one of those living in that unfortunate circumstance in life is trying to get out instead of being attached to it, right? However, the question does give you a chance to pause and really reflect.

Think about your current situation. Are you in a place where you are financially stable? Are you free from debt? After you have paid whatever amount of money you owe, do you remain debt free? If by any chance you answered “No” to any or all of these questions then a serious case can be made for your addiction to poverty.

You might ask, “But isn’t poverty more about a living condition?”

Well, poverty can be classified in so many ways, and one of which is your living condition. Let’s just say that you live in a neighborhood in town that is known to be a poor neighborhood. You struggle to find a secure job and making ends meet.

However, you can live in a decent house but still be considered “living in poverty.” Let’s just say you don’t have enough financial resources to pay for bills, food, and other household needs. You can even be living in a decent household, but you just don’t have a job.

In other words, there are various factors for you to be considered “living in poverty.” But being addicted to poverty is on a similar thread.

How can you be addicted to poverty?

It’s true that the question really sounds ridiculous, and even harsh, but it shouldn’t be. It is a question that is valid and needs to be answered. The question is, “Do you fall into the category of being addicted to poverty?”

Look at it this way: Do you live paycheck to paycheck? Do you have thoughts that go “I can never really get ahead in life.”? Well, if you do have these questions and feelings then you may be addicted to poverty without you even knowing it.

Yes, and it is not only you who are facing the same dilemma. There are millions of other people who are going through the same feelings and emotions as you. It’s just a sad realization that they may not even know that they are addicted to poverty.

Being addicted to poverty means that you do a lot of things that are detrimental to your financial situation.

Being addicted to poverty

Think about it this way: You already know that you are living in a very tight situation, yet your attitude towards money has not changed one bit.

Your spending habits are something left to be desired because even though you know that bills have to be paid, you force yourself to buy things you really don’t need.

You rack up excessive debt on your credit card just because there’s a sale in one of the malls, but you can’t pay for what you owe in the following months.

Lastly, you always demonstrate your lack of financial knowledge. At some point, you need to learn more about finance in order to make good decisions regarding your money. It is a topic that can no longer be ignored in this day and age.

So, can you be addicted to poverty?

The short answer, “Yes.” Always keep in mind that being an addict to something is being a slave to that addiction. However, the good news is that it is very much curable, just like any other kind of addiction. All of this starts with a change in your mindset. Start by admitting that you have a problem, and from there work out on a solution that will free you from poverty addiction.


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