The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools recently held their annual Hero's luncheon. It was a motivating and well attended event. It is truly inspirational to be surrounded by great teachers and motivated students and a community that believes passionately in public education.
Some startling statistics where shared at the event that carry huge repercussions for our city:
- Over 50% of students at Vancouver Public Schools participate in the free or reduced cost lunch program.
- Clark County's population has grown over 20% in the past decade but the number of people living in poverty in the county has grown over 60%.
The effects of hunger on a students ability to learn have been well documented. But the impact does not stop at the schoolhouse door. Poverty drags down our entire economy. It means families are stressed thinking about their basic needs and they are very limited in the number of local businesses they can patronize. Poverty has ripple effects that affect us all.
The obvious solution is family wage jobs. The challenge is growing those job opportunities. It is imperative Vancouver set a vision for its future and make strategic investments in its infrastructure and its neighborhoods, creating an attractive and supportive environment for entrepreneurs and established businesses.