Archive for the ‘Making A Difference’ Category

Do You Need Money for College?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

APP’s Blueprints College Access Initiative sponsoring FAFSA completion events in Chilton, Franklin, Perry, and Shelby Counties. 
University of Montevallo Financial Aid Officers Kim Miller and Maria Parker, Blueprints Mentor Ashley Humphrey, AmeriCorps*VISTA Courtney Bennett, Blueprints Mentor Darlena Garner, Blueprints Program Coordinator Hannah Selles, and Blueprints Volunteer Jay Causey at a FAFSA completion event in Montevallo.

University of Montevallo Financial Aid Officers Kim Miller and Maria Parker, Blueprints Mentor Ashley Humphrey, AmeriCorps*VISTA Courtney Bennett, Blueprints Mentor Darlena Garner, Blueprints Program Coordinator Hannah Selles, and Blueprints Volunteer Jay Causey at a FAFSA completion event in Montevallo.

Through a collaboration with the Alabama Department of Education, members of its higher education alliance, and local school districts, APP’s Blueprints College Access Initiative is aiming to boost Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion by 20 percent in Chilton, Franklin, Perry, and Shelby Counties.

FAFSA completion helps students and their families access federal and most state financial support, including grants, scholarships, the lowest-cost student loans and work-study opportunities.  Studies show that 9 out of 10 students who complete the FAFSA go on to postsecondary education.

Blueprints held FAFSA completion events in February in Birmingham, Marion, Montevallo, and Phil Campbell. We are working with Judson College, Northwest-Shoals Community College and the University of Montevallo on intensive efforts in Chilton, Franklin, Perry, and Shelby Counties.  Over the next month we will host additional FAFSA completion events, provide individual assistance, and host FAFSA follow- up events where professionals and volunteers will help students and their families interpret financial aid packages offered by postsecondary institutions.

Blueprints works to increase educational attainment and create a college-going culture in the state.  Alabama ranks 44th in educational attainment, which is closely liked to personal and economic well-being.

If you are an educator, parent or student at a public high school in Chilton, Franklin, Perry or Shelby Counties and would like to host a FAFSA completion event or need assistance with completing the FAFSA or interpreting aid awards please contact us at 205.939.1408.

Further resources can be found  at www.blueprintsalabama.org and http://studentaid.ed.gov/.

The Gift of Hope: APP’s 2012 Holiday Membership Premium

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

As supporters of Alabama Possible-Alabama Poverty Project, you hope that together we can reduce, and one day end, poverty in Alabama.

That hope comes from the conviction, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach, work, and fight for it.

You can give the gift of hope with our 2012 gift membership premium.

This year, we teamed up with Camden’s BlackBelt Treasures and Lowndes County Artist Andrew McCall, who works with wisteria, Kudzu and grape vines he harvests from the backwoods of the Black Belt to make unique wreaths.  No two are alike.

For your donation of $50 or more, we’ll mail your honoree a gift box with artisan-made wreath adorned with burlap flowers (natural or Alabama Possible Blue) along with a special note acknowledging your gift and their membership in APP supporting of our work engaging, educating, and advocating to reduce poverty in Alabama. 

Order here by midnight on Wednesday, December 19, to make sure your gift arrives on time. Payment accepted via Paypal only. Call 205-939-1408 with any questions.

 

Alabama is fat and hungry? Yes, it is.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

On Saturday September 22, the Wetumpka Herald posted a column from Managing Editor Peggy Blackburn with the headline “Alabama is Fat and Hungry?” Here’s an excerpt:

One report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ranks Alabama as fourth in adult obesity rate at 32 percent of the population.

That seems like a reasonable estimate, especially given the charts used in determining if a person’s weight is under, over or in the normal range. I know some muscular folks the charts actually gauge as overweight.

Contrarily, a report published by the Food Research and Action Center said 23.4 percent of the state’s residents reported that they couldn’t afford enough food for their families and also reported going hungry. That is the second highest percentage in the country.

It is difficult for me to reconcile the state being the fourth most obese while at the same time being the second hungriest.

The categories are so specific it seems unlikely any of the people in one group could qualify for the other. If the respondents are all different, that would mean only 45 percent of Alabamians are neither overeating nor starving.

I don’t say it’s impossible, but it seems odd.

Although we applaud the managing editor’s efforts to educate herself about obesity and poverty in Alabama, we felt her article mischaracterized the data. We sent this letter in response:

Dear Ms. Blackburn:

This email is in response to your column “Alabama is fat and hungry?” which was posted on Saturday.

Today it is quite common to be both hungry and obese.

Poverty causes hunger, and nearly 1 in 5 Alabamians live in poverty. Poor families contend with challenges like low wages, part-time work, and unemployment – factors that make it difficult to afford food.

Conversely, obesity impacts Alabamians of all walks of life. The Center for Disease Control estimates that in 2011, 31 percent of Alabama adults were obese.

The Food Research and Action Center cites some reasons why low-income people are especially prone to obesity, including:

• Many low-income communities lack full-service grocery stores but have a proliferation of convenience stores that do not stock fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

• Healthy, low fat food is more expensive than low cost, high calorie options.

• Low-income communities have fewer recreation options and higher rates of crime. These higher crime rates (or fear of crime) cause many families to keep their children indoors. Poor kids also do not have the same access to afterschool and summertime recreational activities and sports.

• Being poor is often stressful, which can result in disordered eating, reduced physical activity, and depression – all factors related to weight gain. In addition, hunger and/or poverty can cause production of a stress hormone that is associated with obesity.

The Alabama Poverty Project is a nonprofit resource center dedicated to reducing systemic poverty and its root causes across Alabama. APP educates citizens about poverty, motivates colleges and faith-based institutions to engage in poverty-reduction activities, and advocates for fact-based policy decisions statewide.

We invite Alabamians who are interested in learning more to visit our web site at www.alabamapossible.org.

Kristina Scott

Executive Director, Alabama Poverty Project