Justin’s Midterm Insights

The presentations were all great and I learned a ton. Here are my three biggest insights/takeaways:

(1) More usually exists than I think
I was so impressed to learn how many good organizations and efforts are being made to solve the problems in our community. Almost every presentation surprised me by how much is being done by so many different people and organizations. This was especially apparent in the presentation on health care for low-income individuals and on the marginalization of latinos, as well as my own project on homelessness. I had no idea how many great resources exist and all the great effort that is working to address these problems.

(2) Success requires both resources and individuals who desire a change
This literally came together in my mind as we were giving the presentation. It had been apparent in our research and in other presentations, but it wasn’t until we were presenting about the successes relating to homelessness that I realized that success really does require two things: (1) resources, and (2) individuals working to change. So often we have individuals who have a deep desire to change but lack resources. Other times we have resources but those they are intended to help lack the desire to change.

(3) The solution of so many problems seems to lie within the family
This idea started to form when I was doing research on homelessness. There are a lot of people who lose their homes due to foreclosure but they are not homeless – their family helps them out. Family is a huge fall back for most people in a tough situation. Functional, loving families seem to be one of the most powerful antidotes for so many problems, and dysfunctional families seem to be a huge cause. This idea was further clarified in my mind on Tuesday before class when I was taking a midterm for a economics class on education policy. I realized that a huge reason the education system is struggling so much in the US is because it is trying to replace (or make up for) what should be done in the family. Educational outcomes will always be poor when families are weak. This was further solidified in my mind during the presentation on educational shortcomings for Latino kids – it seems that the problem lied more at home. Weak families seem to be the cause of most problems in society, while strong families are one of the most powerful and effective solutions.