Most poor people in Tennessee will remain poor, new study says


It's the stuff movies are made of. Rags to riches stories with happy endings. Here in Tennessee if you grow up poor, chances are you'll stay that way.

The lighter colors represent areas where children from low income families are more likely to make more money than their parents. Where you see these darker colors, primarily in the south, the poor tend to remain poor. Some people are trying to change those statistics.

Jerome Diaz teaches martial arts to kids on the east side. Many of them are confronted by drugs, prostitutes and gangs every day. He's trying to change that, by teaching them confidence and self discipline.
Chief Instructor at Cat's Martial Arts Jerome Diaz says, "When you tell them they can achieve, you can see thier little faces light up."

A new study says Tennessee is one of states where children are least likely improve their economic status. The reason why? Lack of education and parental involvement. Something Jerome sees daily.
Diaz says, "Statistically it's true because the opportunities for our youth isn't there. Our children here have to work twice as hard to achieve."

Elaine Streno hands out a million meals a month with Second Harvest. She sees the same families come through generation after generation. Streno says, "They can't focus on anything else that day except for a meal that day. So education isn't stressed and 18 days later they're back in the cycle of poverty."

It's a cycle Diaz hopes to break with a little love and compassion. Diaz says, "I'd like to see them become future presidents, business man and lawyers. I have high standards for them."


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