The Motivation to Overcome Adversity
This chapter describes the purpose of the book—understanding the role of hope in promoting positive outcomes for children and families who live in poverty. The chapter starts with a provocative question: What motivates people to strive beyond their circumstances in order to overcome adversity? Two single fathers, one single mother, and a married mom of a toddler share their stories of adversity and the ways in which they manage those adversities. Excerpts from interviews with students and program support personnel shed light on important strengths within families, schools, and communities that help families manage the complexities of their day-to-day lives. Together, insights from these individuals serve as the centerpiece of the book. Also introduced in this chapter is the scientific literature on hope, optimism, and resilience addressing the premise of the book—that the effects of poverty can be ameliorated. Important implications for research, policy, and programming needs are raised.
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