The United States has been at war on poverty since 1964. However, with the Economic Opportunity Act was signed, it was primarily addressing the lack of financial means. Fast forward to today—we are still talking about how we can best address poverty.

Only poverty today goes well beyond the lack of money. Poverty can be the lack of resources which does include financial, but also includes language, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, relationships, and the knowledge of hidden rules.

So to help us out, our guest today is Sherry Slankard. Sherry is a school counselor, currently working in a rural elementary school. Prior to this she was in a middle school setting for 15 years. More importantly, as we hear from Sherry, she grew up in rural, generational poverty. She uses her incredible personal story and her formal training to help educators all over better understand where their students may be coming from and how best to reach them.

About Sherry

Sherry Slankard graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a M.S.Ed. in School Counseling. She has over 25 years experience working with at-risk youth through foster parenting and crisis intervention for runaway youth. She has previously served as a Site Manager of an after school program and is a huge proponent of quality after school initiatives. In her current role, she serves as a School Counselor at the Newton Elementary School in Newton, Illinois. Sherry received training from the Aha! Process, Inc. in 2011, and became a life time certified trainer of the Ruby Payne’s “Bridges Out of Poverty” in 2014. She is an advocate for students and families living in poverty. Through this advocacy, she has facilitated workshops to educators and community stakeholders about poverty, social emotional learning, and mental health awareness. In addition, she is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer and has served on committees to address the stigma and lack of mental health services and  in rural communities.

Resources from this episode:

  • Click here to read an article Sherry wrote for Illinois ASCD