Asbury Park, August 27, 2021 – Eleven exceptional, socially conscious high school students representing McDonough, GA, Corona del Mar, CA, and the Somerset County area in NJ dedicated their summer vacations to researching poverty and developing their skills as agents of change. Their twelve-week fellowship as members of the Summer Research Cohort: Financial Stability culminated with a ninety minute presentation to their peers, families, and community members about how they propose to break the cycle of poverty in America.
Over the course of twelve weeks, the Summer Research Associates investigated the struggles and hardships that low-income American families face to understand how education inequalities, underemployment, inconsistent health benefits, and institutional prejudices prevent individuals from escaping poverty’s grip. Their research and findings were revealed on August 26, 2021 at the Financial Stability Framework Launch Party.
The launch party featured an informative presentation of the complex social, political, and economic issues that contribute to poverty in America. From their research, the research associates concluded that addressing the housing insecurities that many impoverished households face is an ideal first step in helping people out of poverty. The research associates have also published their findings in a twenty-seven page research paper that outlines the comprehensive steps that can be taken to overcome the economic, political and social barriers to change.
The Framework Launch Party also featured guest speakers Misozi Houston, M.P.H, who is the Financial Stability Manager at Pocono Mountains United Way and Nata Harris, who shared her inspiring journey from poverty to business owner. Misozi Houston was also awarded the cohort’s Community Impact Award, which recognizes a contributor, speaker or instructor who the cohort felt had the most impact on them and their community. “I’m very humbled and honored that you’ve selected me as your recipient,” said Houston, and “I’m very, very proud of your work.” The cohort will be making a $500 donation in Houston’s name to her organization of choice.
Jayda Hendrickson, a rising senior from McDonough High School in Georgia, was the recipient of the Teen Think Tank Project’s college scholarship. The Teen Think Tank Project awards a $500 college scholarship to a research associate from each cohort. Hendrickson’s scholarship is made possible by the generosity of think tank sponsor Perennis Financial Planning. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” said Hendrickson. “I gained so much information and confidence from being surrounded by my fellow research associates. This has been one of the most legendary summers of my life.”
Teen Think Tank Project is a student-run policy institute that fosters critical thinking, research techniques, and problem-solving skills to develop policy frameworks for real-life issues and empowers students to become future changemakers. Teens find their voice and create change at www.teenthinktankproject.com or @teen_thinktank.
Kelly Nagle, Co-founder and Vice Chair