Co-Written by: Teresa Gillian, FLP Independent Community Manager and Resident
Copywriter; Shatoyia Jones, FLP Founder, Wealth Building Educational Consultant; Business Development Specialist
Edited by: Shatoyia Jones
It seems that negativity is inescapable, especially today. There is not enough positivity spoken or written to guide, lead, motivate and uplift people who live in poverty towards implementing ways to change for the better.
Have you ever wanted to make some changes in your own neighborhood, or maybe a neighborhood you have driven through or lived in previously? Have you driven through an impoverished area (community) and then three to four blocks past that area, you find a community where the flowers are blooming and sidewalks are well-manicured. Personally, I have always questioned why it happens but as time went on, and my interest in how I could help make a positive impact, I began asking how does that happen?
First, we have to reassess how we define poverty itself. According to investopedia, poverty is often explained as individuals or communities who lack in income and resources such as: safe and clean neighborhoods to live in with affordable housing rates, nutritious food, living at or near the poverty line and so more–essentially, the basics. 
In researching the topic more during in my short time at First Ladies of Poverty Foundation with the assistance of the organization's Founder, it has opened my eyes to not only poverty issues but also the multiple causes of poverty, which include but are not limited to: accessibility, affordability, politics, the traditional education-employment model, civic engagement, living wages,  poor education as to how the world actually works and the keys to get ahead  and the lack of social responsibility and ethical capitalism. 
Although money is often thought to be the main cause of poverty, I have found that the cost of living in comparison to hourly wages doesn’t allow people to access basic necessities needed. If a person works hard, long hours and still is not able or barely able to afford a roof over their head, food on the table, or decent clothing and shoes.
The cost of living goes up every year and working wages remain the same or decrease in value due to inflation. 
At First Ladies of Poverty Foundation, poverty is defined as:
Thus, instead of pinpointing one specific thing: healthcare, education, etc., First Ladies of Poverty Foundation aims to define poverty in away that keeps the concept of “need” [broadly] defined with the parameters being “mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health and well-being” as well as well as the ability to be productive citizens in the communities in which they reside and harmonious stewardship with planet Earth.  The definition in itself empasses all elements of poverty: healthcare, education, transportation, internet poverty, education-employment, civic engagement, etc. 
How is it not a no-brainer that wages need to be higher than the cost of living? The cost of living goes up every year. Not only can I imagine what goes through one’s mind when an individual living paycheck-to-paycheck cannot afford to pay rent, fill the refrigerator, or clothe themselves and or their children, but I have experienced the struggle personally.  The worries of if the check will be enough for the bills coming in this week /month plagues your mind. Worrying about not only if the check will be enough to pay bills but also which bills will get paid and which ones won’t if the check is not enough.
The million-dollar question: how can we, as community members, rally alongside the underserved, especially those majorly underrepresented –BIPOC, hispanics, minorities–in a way that is sustainable?
We are all only human. A life of struggle, bills and all work and no play eventually leads to money being spent frivolously because one desires a lively, entertaining escape from the dull, harsh reality that comes with living paycheck to paycheck. At this point, a person is not thinking of productive ways to wisely manage money to work for them instead of against them. It is only the right now that matters, so we often fall into the habit of spending money as if we see no future with little in the struggle.
However, as you do your research (as I did), you will find that once you learn how to manage your little while working hard to develop or invest in a supportive community like First Ladies of Poverty Foundation’s mentoring community and learn how to secure new opportunities for financial growth and multiple income streams, little by little, your resourcefulness and hard work will pay off. It is all about using the struggle as a stepping stone to greater, starting from where you are and with what you already have.  
Our mindset plays a great part in how we view life, money, how we spend money, how we save money or have become accustomed to the myths from generations prior.   I was told–a time or two– that you shouldn’t always believe what you hear or read because what you believe, you do (whether consciously or subconsciously). If the only narrative we have to be influenced by the narrow statistics for minority talent and professionals who fall to bottom of society's socio-economic ladder , we will continue to believe there is no way out, no way up from poverty and continue operating in the same mindset that produced the habits that keep them unfocused and uninspired with a lack of enthusiasm for their future and the future of their loved ones. For some, it goes as far as believing that there is not any reason to continue living or that the only purpose for their life is to work, struggle financially to pay bills and die.
Alone, it may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but investing in a supportive mentoring community who can give you daily motivation, inspirational conversation and hold you accountable to your goals is KEY. 
The best kept secret: no successful person did it ALONE. 
First Ladies of Poverty Foundation was founded with focus on servicing and providing equal opportunity access for low income families, individuals, who have known poverty, are living in poverty, check to check, have a passion to want and see change. Pay it forward or as you make progress take someone with you.
My favorite thing about this organization is constantly hearing and seeing the word “COMMUNITY”. For me, it just means that I am not alone. This is why I decided to join the team and community. First to create an extra income stream for myself, make a positive impact and pursue my passion for writing.  
First Ladies of Poverty Foundation offers a positive mentoring community of supportive accountability to creating your vision and goals, your customized financial planning and management solutions and of course offering the tools, resources and mentor(s) you need to continue to advance on your journey. Our programs offer solutions to the many different adversities that living paycheck to paycheck and living a low-quality life brings from: offering fair-trade employment opportunities, financial planning and management support, business development support and multiple streams of income / investing support.
“National leadership at First Ladies of Poverty Foundation is dedicated to assuring high-impact services and high-level mentorship for a growing number of entrepreneurial-minded changemakers and expansion of our advocacy efforts. We set forward-thinking goals with a clear, informed strategic direction in partnership with ethical local leadership that puts the people front and center.” 
If you are serious about changing your circumstances for the better or taking a chance on an opportunity to do so presented by an award-winning organization, we are here to uplift those living paycheck-to-paycheck, transform lives and create a path to breaking mental, spiritual and financial generational curses that allow for a life of high quality living and ongoing financial growth to create a solid foundation for generational wealth.
FLP First Generation