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Poor Kids: An Intimate Portrait of America’s Economic Crisis

In America, the majority of citizens wish to live the elusive American dream. However, the idea of being financially comfortable does not always come true for everyone, especially for families living below the poverty line. It is even harsher on children who live in such families. In the PBS documentary, Poor kids season 2017 episode 21 aired on 21st November 2017, the director brings to light the tight situations the children have experienced growing up in destitution.

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The director takes the audience through the lives of three families living with little provisions. The documentary concentrates on the plight of the children in these households (Frontline, 2017). There are lengthy interviews with the young ones, which are momentarily broken by shorter interviews of their guardians. The director is tactful in portraying the children without hiding the unappealing details of the little chance they have at a normal prosperous life. Some of the juveniles have to help provide food, contend with less than three meals a day, and become homeless.

Conceivably, the film’s most alluring view is the simple way the children can describe their challenges. Brittany Smith, a middle school student, explains the agony of a shower with cold water in a snowy winter because the father could not pay the electricity bill on time. Her big brother, Roger, talks about the false impression people have on their family. Any visitor would think they are financially comfortable, but Roger reveals that his parents acquired the play station and the flat-screen television when they were in a better situation. In addition, the youngsters are worried about their unborn sibling’s life if their financial state remains the same.

A teenager, Johnny, dreams of playing football, but his parents are too poor to afford a soccer program. The household’s situation is so dire that his family lives in a homeless shelter. By the end of the film, Johnny’s family manages to relocate to transitional housing, which is a challenge to his pregnant mother because she will be forced to increase her expenses with no additional income. Moreover, Johnny highlights the depth of stigmatization his family faces in the community. The boy states that he did not want his classmates to know where he lives. Prejudice from friends at times leads to bullying and a negative psychological effect on young children.

The director also presents Kaylie, a ten-year-old girl who is energetic and brave despite her unstable home situation. Her mother, a single parent, is trying all she can to provide for Kaylie and her brother as they move around Ohio. The boy is forced to mow lawns to help the mother with money for food. The family moves from motel to motel, and the kids cannot attend school, which worries Kaylie as education is her only hope for a better future. It is encouraging that the young lady thinks about the education and future career.

Some interesting updates occur at the end of the film, where five years later, Johnny lives with his grandmother after completing his sentence. His sister Jasmine is in high school and lives with her struggling parents. Unlike the brother, it is encouraging that Jasmine managed to stay in school. Additionally, Kaylie and Tyler moved to different locations but still feel stuck in poverty. Tyler dropped out of high school because he felt neglected by the mother. His sister Kaylie is worried about the medical situation at home as her mother is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In turn, Roger and his sister have both graduated from high school.

This documentary clearly depicts the effect poverty can have on children. Most of the young ones in the movie ended up dropping out of school or in jail. I am pleased with some resolution, for instance, Johnny’s reformed after his jail term. However, I am disappointed by Tyler’s decision to drop out of high school. Education is an option which can get these children out of poverty. A great lesson is that I have learned to appreciate the little life has to offer, such as the food.

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Reference

Frontline. (2017). Poor kids season 2017 episode 21 [Video]. PBS. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, September 29). Poor Kids: An Intimate Portrait of America’s Economic Crisis. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/poor-kids-an-intimate-portrait-of-americas-economic-crisis/

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StudyCorgi. "Poor Kids: An Intimate Portrait of America’s Economic Crisis." September 29, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/poor-kids-an-intimate-portrait-of-americas-economic-crisis/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Poor Kids: An Intimate Portrait of America’s Economic Crisis." September 29, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/poor-kids-an-intimate-portrait-of-americas-economic-crisis/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Poor Kids: An Intimate Portrait of America’s Economic Crisis'. 29 September.

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