MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

July 31, 2013

Program makes strides vs. poverty

— New statistics released recently show that Muskogee is making strides in reducing poverty.

Community Circles of Muskogee released statistics for its last five sessions of the “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World” program.

Thirty-six of 53 people graduated from the course, according to statistics provided by Circles coordinator, Tom Martindale.

Of those 36:

• 22 increased their income.

• 29 reduced their debt.

• 11 either completed their GED or enrolled in higher education.

• 18 now have savings accounts.

Those are encouraging numbers.

The majority of the participants are moving in the right direction.

The key for these 36 will be how they are doing in years to come.

Hopefully those statistics will improve for these 36 in five, 10 years and beyond.

This is an ongoing process.

Poverty did not raise its ugly head in Muskogee overnight. And it won’t go away in just a few sessions.

Each graduate from this program has a chance to improve the rest of his or her life.

Some may say 36 is not a substantial number.

But to each of those 36, we bet the progress feels substantial.

Community Circles of Muskogee is not finished with five sessions.

These results show the sessions are making a dent in our poverty problem.

Those numbers make us feel the program is working and should be supported by the city and its citizens.

The journey for these 36 is far from over. But they have made great strides.

We applaud these 36 and look forward to many more graduates.

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