Growing up is hard to do, and growing up poor is even harder. Already faced with the normal growing pains of childhood, children growing up in low-income neighborhoods in the United States face what may sometimes seem like insurmountable struggles. Though some argue the degree of severity when compared with third-world countries, the reality is still the same. A lack of resources to any degree while growing up in these conditions, such as those I discovered right in my Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood, can severely limit a child’s ability to find a way out.
The day I saw for myself just how bad some children’s lives actually were, it had been a blistering cold winter day. I was at the corner bodega in my Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Although I was low-income myself, I was virtually surrounded with those who struggles appeared tremendous in comparison to my own. Making my milk selection from the semi-operating refrigerator which moaned like a hungry infant, and whose contents left anything but a desirable impression, I picked up a half-gallon 1% milk. As I made my way to the counter to pay for this milk, which may or may not have been consumable, the cowbells hanging on the front entrance doorknob signaled someone’s arrival. In walked a middle aged woman with her young daughter. The first thing I noticed was the stress apparent on the little girl’s face, an expression with a deep frown and furrowed eyebrows above her eyes that screamed pain. Only appearing about five years old, this girl looked like she had just arrived from a foreign third-world country, hungry and oppressed. She was a walking skeleton, swimming in the clothes she was wearing. She had a smooth, cocoa-colored complexion, with her skin looking as soft as the fuzz on a fresh peach. Looking down, I saw this vibrant skin was contradicted with dirty clothes. The little girl was wearing a pair of faded gray jeans with big, open holes that exposed her knobby knees and...
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