Auburn University’s Poverty Awareness Week to include public forums

AUBURN – The debut of Poverty Awareness Week at Auburn University Nov. 10-13 will help equip graduates of the College of Education as teachers and counselors to assist children and families affected by poverty.

The week will open and close with forums that are open to the public. Guest speakers will address poverty as it relates to public policy, the demographics and systemic causes of poverty, child poverty in Alabama and educational responses to poverty.

The four-day program was designed by Jamie Carney, professor in the Auburn’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling/School Psychology in the College of Education, and students she advises in the Auburn chapter of the international counseling honor society, Chi Sigma Iota.

The opening forum, “Understanding Poverty in Alabama,” is on Monday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 2216 of the Student Center. Participants include Cindy Reed, director of Auburn University’s Truman Pierce Institute, Kristina Scott from the Alabama Poverty Project, Linda Tilly of Voices for Alabama’s Children and Shakita Jones and Melissa Oliver from Alabama Arise.

The closing forum, “Preparing Educators and Counselors,” is on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also in room 2216 of the Student Center. Ivan Watts, associate professor and acting director of diversity, recruitment and retention for the College of Education, will discuss poverty’s impact on children and adolescents. Shakita Jones of Alabama Arise will address education as a solution to poverty. Stephen Stetson of Alabama Arise will speak about “Dropouts and Alabama’s Workforce: Policies and the Rhetoric of Poverty.” Linda Tilly of Voices for Alabama’s Children will speak on “Education and Poverty: Making the Connection.”

“There are countless children, adolescents and families who are struggling economically,” said Carney. “The events of the last few months with the economy have brought home the idea that this impacts more people.

“Those events have also trickled down to K-12 classrooms, where more and more children are coming from families who fall below the federal poverty line and are harboring their own anxieties regarding the future.”

On the first and last days of Poverty Awareness Week, educational materials will be distributed and donations will be accepted on the Haley Center concourse from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on Poverty Awareness Week, contact Jamie Carney at (334) 844-2885 or carnejs@auburn.edu. The week will open and close with forums that are open to the public. Guest speakers will address poverty as it relates to public policy, the demographics and systemic causes of poverty, child poverty in Alabama and educational responses to poverty.

Contact: Troy Johnson, (334) 844-4468 (ltj0001@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)