A review of the effects of generational poverty on the development of children and the well-being of their families is compared with nine years of experience by Generation One, a non-profit organization that operates a school and a revitalization program in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas. Analysis of student behavior and the level and quality of parent involvement points to the children’s lack of self-control (tantrums, disruptions, etc.) and their parents’ limited engagement in school or the community as the key barriers to their learning. In the research of brain/cognitive, language/literacy, personal-social, emotional, and physical development, as well as parenting, and family well-being, generational poverty is shown to negatively impact all areas of child development (even prenatally) irritate family relationships, and create home environments of hopelessness and toxic stress. Six factors were identified by Generation One for ameliorating these negative effects: 1) hope, 2) early intervention, 3) social-emotional learning (SEL), 4) parent/caregiver relationships, training, and involvement, 5) home, school, and community environment, and 6) community awareness and collaborative action. Possible solutions are Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), School-Family Partnerships (SFPs), and comprehensive Community Coalitions. Early intervention is based on long-term commitment, one-to-one trust relationships, resident empowerment by awareness and skill training, and creation of environments of encouragement and support where positive mindsets and hopeful visions for the future thrive.

Author Biography

Mike Malkemes, Founding Director, Generation One

Mike is a Marine Corps veteran and founding director Of Generation One, a nonprofit that involves the collaboration of volunteers, churches, ministries, and corporate partners to impact the lives of children and their families to improve the quality of life for the residents in Houston’s Third Ward. In addition to his work with Generation One, Mike founded C.O.R.E. Alliance Disaster Relief which has responded to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike, and the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Prior to this Mike worked for Charles Schwab as a senior business development broker. In 2015 he was named the University of Houston-Downtown Alumni of the year. Mike is a devoted husband to his wife, Kenzie, and father to their two adopted children Jonathan 13 and Kaylee 3.

Joan L. Waters, Education One, Inc.

B.A., Biology, Rice University, M.A., Counseling, Psychology, West Virginia University Texas Education Agency certifications: Mid-management, Supervisor, Counselor, Special Education Counselor, Educational Diagnostician, Special Education endorsements: L.D., M.R., E.D. Positions: Principal (8 yrs) Special Ed Director (6 yrs) Counselor (13 yrs) Educational diagnostician (2 yrs)