From: Kaitlyn Risley
Currently, one in 12 Hoosier children is living either impoverished or homeless. This is a problem. I would know; I used to be one of them. Growing up, we were in poverty, too poor to really afford much more than the clothes on our backs and what little food that was on our table.
But my mom, a single mother of three, worked her butt off to provide what we needed, and when she could, the things we simply just wanted, too. This problem is only getting worse, growing and escalating into a whole new generation of need, homelessness and hopelessness.
In a country of “Education is our Future” and “No Child Left Behind,” how can we say that the 6,914 Hoosier children who are not enrolled in schools for whatever reason haven’t been left behind? How can we say that they have a bright future, when in all honesty these are the 22.1 percent who are in poverty and homeless?
As a college student, it’s hard for me to know that these children may never get the chance for a brighter future. As someone who has been there, it breaks my heart to know they may never get out. If children really are the future of our country, why are we sitting by as so many are living without basic necessities?
There has been a genuine increase in the number of children living on the streets, no home, no food, clothes or warm bed for the night. All of these things that we have, that we take for granted, that we view as rights as Americans are sometimes treats and privileges to some.
And what about the 13 percent of Indiana families that go hungry every night or that remain “food insecure?” I sit at home at night as I think to myself, “Why not me?” Why is it that I was not chosen to remain hungry or homeless instead of that innocent little child on the corner?
It makes me wonder. Are we doing all that we can be? Let’s be completely honest with ourselves for a moment. It’s hard to be honest, but necessary. When we see these defenseless children, broken, hurt, what do we do?
Do we pick them up and hold them close or walk past them like they’re giving away diseases. Let’s remind ourselves that we have a real problem here. Our children, our future, the next generation are going homeless, living in a constant state of fear, have no food, shelter or water. It’s time to step up, reach out and make a change; time to love these children and give them a hope for a better future.
A future where they haven’t been left behind.
My question, one that often keeps me up at night, is this: If we can afford to continually build things like parking structures, sports stadiums, restaurants, banks and supermarkets, why can’t we afford to start taking these kids off the streets, giving them hope for a better life?