Beating the odds


Shawn is growing up surrounded by crime, violence and poverty. His mom works two jobs to pay rent, utilities, and very few extras. As a single parent, she does her best to be present for her children and to give them a place to call home, but the neighborhood can be rough. Over the years, Shawn has watched relatives and neighborhood friends fall into the cycle of drug abuse, gang activity, jail sentences and living on the streets. Opportunity beyond these struggles is uncommon for the many people in Shawn’s life.

Fortunately, Shawn is learning to face the challenges of his environment in new ways through LFCS Community Prevention Services. This program aims to support at-risk youth through evidence-based life skills education and interventions. Areas reviewed include day-to-day challenges, self-esteem, substance abuse, violence, and other risky behaviors. Although new to the program, Shawn is beginning to see the opportunities beyond the familiar. And, for the first time in his life, Shawn has a male role model in his program mentor.

This positive experience has set Shawn on a new path. He is ready to beat the odds – to overcome any challenges that may come his way today so that he may build a better tomorrow.


Did you know poverty, single-parent households, and trauma are factors that impact a child’s success?

  • The poverty rate for single-mother households is 31%.
  • Poverty reduces a child’s readiness for school because it leads to poor physical health and motor skills, diminishes a child’s ability to concentrate and remember information, and reduces attentiveness, curiosity, and motivation.
  • 30% of children raised in poverty do not finish high school.
  • People who do not earn a high school diploma by age 20 are seven times more likely to be persistently poor between the ages of 25 and 30. [1]
  • When a child experiences a traumatic event, the effects can have a life-long effect. As the number of traumatic events experienced during childhood increases, the risk for the following in adulthood increases: depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide attempts.[2]

[1] ChildFund. 2015.

[2] Mental Health Connection. Recognize Trauma. Statistics.