I saw a couple different news stories this week which show how having resources makes all the difference.
The Federal Reserve last week reported that “the shares of income and wealth held by affluent families are at a modern historically high level. The numbers show that the top 10% of earners take home almost half (47.3%) of all income, while the remaining 90% of earners take the other half (52.7%). To make it simple (so I can understand!), 1 person gets half the apple pie to eat while 9 people have to divide up the other half amongst themselves.
Researchers have reported that the wealthiest 20% of families spend $8,000 more per year on enrichment opportunities for their child than the poorest 20% of families. This adds up to an almost $100,000 spending gap over the course of a child’s primary and secondary school career—that is a HUGE amount.
So there is where youth development and resources intersect. Every parent wants to provide the very best opportunities for their child and I am so glad to see that better-resourced parents are investing so significantly in their child’s growth and well-being. But it not good enough for only the top 20% of our children to have the opportunities to fully achieve their potential. We want ALL children to be successful–to thrive, learn, participate, and engage. As a community, we have to find ways to make sure that happens–and that doesn’t just mean putting more resources into programs that serve children and youth. It also means investing in parents so they become more skilled and compete for higher paying jobs. It means having better schools so youth are well prepared and able to compete in a competitive global economy. It means accessible and affordable healthcare for all.
Clearly, the numbers show we have the resources—-how will we direct them to bring about the greatest good for individuals and the community? That’s where we have work to do.