Today’s convocation covered the topic of poverty, specifically on the legal end. John Bouman, the speaker, is the president of the Shriver Center and specializes in advocacy and anti-poverty work as well as offers a legal services program. This program has not only been extremely effective and impactful to those in poverty, but it also benefits the middle and upper class as well. Networked in thirty-four states and counting, the Shriver Center has been widely recognized as one of the best advocative programs in the country. Bouman’s calling to serve others sparked after watching generations of his relatives become pastors or serve in church leadership. His personal calling, though, wasn’t necessarily being a pastor– it was to help those in need and fight in the “war on poverty”. He helped build up the Shriver Center and has since lived by its mission statement: “how in our current political climate we can address and help our most vulnerable citizens”. Bouman’s work has three major values, or goals, that he commits his life to reaching. The first, is to promote fair opportunity for all, even if that means through the government. The second, each person’s potential has the chance to flourish. Third, the potential of these people can positively impact the entire human endeavor and contribute to society as a whole. And finally, in doing this we can improve the economy and give them the chance to contribute to the world.
Bouman’s work seems to hold an array of values, but some common themes very apparent during his speech were his passion of community and service. As we learned in our studies of the physical world as well as biblical anthropology, humans were clearly not meant to be alone. We are a social species that uses teamwork and collaboration to get things done. This idea can be directly applied to Bouman’s goals. He clearly embraces this truth about humankind and promotes communities and supporting one another. The worst possible thing we could do to those in poverty is make them feel isolated, or worse– actually ignore the issue so that they truly are isolated. Christian or not, it is a known fact that we weren’t meant to do life alone, so it is our job as people with lots of resources to not keep them to ourselves, but to give them to those who need it.
I very much enjoyed Bouman’s presentation/lecture and found it very motivating to go out the serve these people. It’s unfair that people born into poverty-stricken homes and neighborhoods have to seek help and work twice as hard to get half as much in return. I agree that we need to give our resources to programs and non-profits that make it their goal to end poverty for good and win the “war on poverty”. In doing this, we are not only helping them, but we are helping our entire country and human population.