WOPM Initiative Summary

The Wisdom of Poor Mothers

The Premise

  • American poor people are often underestimated and disrespected.
  • This has large tangible negative impacts on our economy and society.  It also makes everyone, rich and poor, carry a negative emotional burden.
  • In fact low-income people often possess exceptional common sense, courage, motivation, persistence, integrity and strength. Among them, parents are driven by high levels of dedication to making their children’s lives better than their own. And mothers are often the key actors in poor children’s lives.
  • Recognizing and building on the strengths of poor people in general, and poor mothers in particular, can inject new optimism and strength into the economy. We can unleash a torrent of innovation and action by opening up an attractive, engaging, positive approach to poverty.
  • The time is ripe for this. There is heightened awareness at all levels of a need for innovation and change given the large portion of the US population living in economic hardship. Pope Francis has surfaced a strong desire for a spiritual and human approach to poverty to complement — and sometimes temper — the technocratic and political dialogue that otherwise predominates.

The Vision

Poverty problems keep being addressed, but there is joyful exploitation of the opportunities posed by the wisdom of poor mothers. As a result, employment, scholastic performance, lawfulness, and self-respect rise across the country.

  • People across American society discover the face of poverty that displays capability and potential, not hopelessness 
  • A broad spectrum of people, businesses and organizations discover that they can do enjoyable, positive and easy things that have a clear impact on both the poor and society.
  • Innovations break down longstanding barriers faced by poor mothers.
  • Enhanced Parenting is recognized and used as a key investment opportunity in creating a stronger U.S.
  • Established management and psychology principles are applied and turn low-income human potential into solid accomplishments and self-respect for individuals, communities and the country.

The Outcomes

  • Changed perception of low-income parents – broader recognition of their positive capabilities and shared human aspirations
  • Individuals discover small ways that they can act on their respect for low-income mothers – and do so.
  • More funding flows to increase low-income parents’ access to proven parenting programs
  • Positive human capital development approaches now used in corporations and higher income populations get customized and delivered to low-income settings/people.
  • Innovations are inspired that target poverty in the US.

How It Will Happen

There are myriad people and entities whose ideas, research and resources can be applied and ignited by a more positive, momentum-filled view of poor families.

Millenials and high-income people respond to positive change opportunities.

A select number of WOPM-driven activities will seed the movement. From there, a broad range of initiatives will flow, some that we can foresee and foment directly, and many that will spring from other people’s ideas. In that second phase, publicizing the good ideas and supporting some will continue and build the momentum.

The specific activities that will seed the movement:

  1. Make people aware of the extraordinary women out there who are already making this country better without the advantages of money.
    • Publish book: The Wisdom of Poor Mothers
    • Publicize website that contain ongoing related features and profiles of both regular and famous peoples’ stories
    • TED Talk
    • Create an app that enables anyone to contribute stories of laudable mothers/fathers. Use social networks and media to propagate the positive perception of the role and potential of low-income women in both the general population and among themselves.
    • Public Relations: Women’s Conferences, Policy Forums, newspaper op-ed and potential column.
    • Encourage people broadly , especially women, to provide value directly to low-income women, spread the word/spirit, and/or contribute resources or funds.
  2. Advocate for parenting programs as a way to leverage the existing motivation of low-income parents.
    • Highlight the results of these programs and their impact in the book
    • Encourage donations to proven providing entities
    • Establish a crowd-sourcing site for scholarships to parenting programs. Establish a coalition of proven and scale-ready providers to participate in this. Include parent testimonials.
  3. Direct the same knowledge that is helping American businesses and high-income people succeed to a new target population: Low-income mothers.
    • Solicit and incentivize established professionals to direct self-empowerment, effectiveness, motivation and employee engagement skills to low-income environments/audiences.
  4. Motivate innovation
    • Establish a recognition award for innovations that address the needs of low-income mothers or this “wealthy in spirit” approach.

Potential Future Activity Areas:
– Best tactics for making boring low-wage jobs more fulfilling
– Best ideas for building self-confidence in low-income parents
– Art that celebrates the hardworking poor and middle class.

Do you have other ideas of things that we should/could do?

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