AFH artwork by Jessy Camacho
The issue of how being poor can affect your education is a serious one because these kids often receive a less than stellar early education, can have trouble in high school, and may never make it out of college if they even go -- and thus are at risk for getting stuck in the cycle of poverty.
In 2013, for example, 77 percent of adults from very wealthy families had earned at least bachelor’s degrees by the time they turned 24 compared to only 9 percent of people from the lowest income backgrounds, according to a Wall Street Journal report on a study released last year.
In obvious ways, experts say, richer kids have the advantages of access to better technology and after school programs
and in influential connections. Yet, they say, there are also a host of hidden obstacles that can lead to school-based problems, from higher absenteeism often having to do with watching after younger siblings so both parents can work, to concentration on schoolwork being clouded by relentless stress.
And yet, many teens have overcome these difficulties by learning to be resilient while fighting to achieve what they are passionate about.
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AFH photo by Bill Le
Not so long ago, a teen got shot in front of my house because of some gang issue.
In fact, according to state data collected in 2013, 20 percent of students said they’d been in a physical beef in the past year and 7 percent reported gang involvement.
The roots of teen violence extend deeply.
As I see it, people can commit violence because they are angry or lonely or desperate or feel inferior.
Their family upbringing and neighborhood environment also play a part.
In addition, some teens can’t distinguish between harsh scenarios portrayed in movies or video games and what goes down in real life.
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AFH artwork by Ariane Fleming
Mental health issues continue to hit teenagers every year.
“Rates of depression and anxiety among young people in America have been increasing steadily for the past 50 to 70 years,” according to
Today, one in five teens and young adults live with a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and the occasional melancholy,” says “It’s a serious problem... that can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, self-loathing and self-mutilation, pregnancy, violence....”
Mental health experts say parents should supportively talk to their children, and seek professional help if these warning signs do occur: feelings of hopelessness and hostility; frequent crying; withdrawal from friends and family; and lack of motivation.
Another factor to deal with is social media. While many teens view social media as a creative and fun outlet, others nd that it only adds pressure to an already-stressful period in adolescence of having to always measure up.
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Janna Mach / AFH Photo
Access to healthy food is a global issue. That means both overseas and here in America.
According to, 48.1 million Americans – including 15.3 million children – live in households that lack access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food.
This food insecurity can be especially damaging to the physical and psychological development of young students and can stunt their academic performance.
And while the junk food outlet down the street may be affordable and accessible, it is surely not the answer.
According to health experts, those calorie-dense edibles can lead to a number of teen health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and even depression.
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Daja Taylor / AFH Artwork
Domestic violence not only affects men and women but children, too.
“More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year,” according to
This can impact children physically and emotionally, health experts say.
“Children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death,” says
Children can get depressed and blame themselves for the abuse. They might get into trouble at school. They even may become abusers themselves when they grow up.
Domestic violence is an important issue that needs to be addressed for adults. But let’s not overlook the children -- the forgotten victims and silent sufferers.
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