|Our regions Personal Financial Factor
Approximately ˝ of the population of H/Roads have single Mother
households. Many of these mothers are faced with using time
consuming public transportation, to seek available work that
tends to be predominantly minimum wage. Sometimes a caregiver is
available within the extended family unit, however, we are
finding more teenagers being responsible for their brothers and
We have a visible population of latch key kids, who because they
are not monitored after getting off the school bus, tend to
gravitate to where kids assemble to find companionship. In
addition, there is a growing number of no key kids as many
parents are not choosing to having their house be an assemble
point for neighborhood children when they are not home. The lack
of a present caregiver to monitor who is in the house, gives
youth the need for some ‘authority figure, and that gives an
open door to gangs.
To add to this lack of visible responsible adult supervision, we
recently have had several Boys and Girls Clubs close.
According to the 2000, US census 19.4% of Norfolk residents live
below poverty. All Hampton Roads cities suppress the state’s
poverty rate of 9.6% except for Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.
61% of our cities youth, receive free lunch. This figure is
What does that mean to children who live here? After working 10
years with Critically At Risk Youth, we have found that the #1
contributing factor that leads youth to make self destructive
decisions, is low self esteem. It is apparent that we are ripe
for a bumper crop of peer pressure due to the following
destabilizing community factors. Being identified as financially
disadvantaged, pointedly affects youths self esteem.
Generational poverty hugely affects youth and creates a frantic
desire to grasp for any perceived option that gives them
attention or notoriety, regardless if it is self destructive.
Visible destructive behaviors like Smoking, drinking, drug use,
and violence are visible reflected in our areas youth.
In Virginia 21% percent of the youth smoke, and 9,700 new
smokers start every year. 7.5 % of pregnant mothers smoke.
Cigarettes are routinely the gateway drug to additional abuse as
70% had initiated cigarettes before marijuana and about 60% had
initiated cigarettes before marijuana. Locally, one half of the
youth in our regions Detention Centers are there due to drug
related crimes. 9.83 percent of the youth in region 5 (Hampton
Roads) have smoked marijuana in the last year.
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