CFNN Columnist Sophia Bullard

“Money is the key to all happiness.” People have been saying this for decades. It’s common to think that if they have money, they’ll be happy, won’t have any problems, etc. This isn’t true, first of all. But more importantly, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a lot of money. The absence of money in some homes means everyone works; even the kids.

Poverty can really take a toll on teenagers and children, not just the adults. It causes a lot of stress, which is no surprise. Teens who have lived in poverty experience physical signs of stress at higher levels than those in more economically secure families, showing that public policy programs that help alleviate poverty can improve psychological and physical health even in pre-adulthood. 

“If you boost these families out of poverty in that window of adolescence, it’s possible that this may protect them from having later health problems, and possibly reduce the chances of them developing depression, and even cutting down the risk of suicide farther down the line,” said Lisa Johnson, a doctoral scholar. 

Teens who work outside of school, can be more prone to experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and exposure to discrimination and bullying. This can really mentally affect a teen, whose brain is still developing… which brings me to my next issue. When teenagers have jobs, and are still going to school during the day, they’re probably working night shifts. Because our brains are still developing, we need more sleep. Weird, I know. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says, “Children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours.” 

There are also things that can cause poverty. When I was thinking about things that can lead to poverty or make it worse, my mind went to teen pregnancy immediately. Babies and pregnancy can get stressful and expensive. Not everyone can afford to have children, especially when you’re young and still have school. On top of that, sometimes our parents don’t agree with the decisions we make, and unfortunately, people can get kicked out of their homes because of pregnancy. 

All the stress and sleep-loss, can even physically affect us. Organizations and Associations know the causes of all these problems, so they’re working to help end teen poverty. Some good charities that really have impacted and are continuing to impact poverty are World Vision and Children International. Charities such as ChildFund International and Save the Children provide children with the resources they need to survive and thrive. There are many, many more helping as well. 

Remember, you can help too! Donate money or food, or even clothes and hygiene products to charities and organizations that are well known to help people in need. If you have friends or family that you know are in need, you can direct them to places that can help, do your research first, though. One last thing… you’re appreciated!