NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 8, 2014

New group launches discussion on local poverty

(Continued)

Jane Doe, as the woman wished to be called, recounted that in 2001 she left an abusive marriage several states away. She had only $100, her two toddlers and all her life’s stuff crammed into her little car. Today she still struggles with anxiety, medical and learning disabilities but she has found help, support and a community in Newburyport and Amesbury, which has helped her to stay afloat and even graduate from Northern Essex Community College.

“My kids have big dreams. They plan to get some scholarships to become a doctor, an engineer and also an NBA star,” she said.

According to Cyros, Doe was demonstrating the role that “hope” can play as one of the three cornerstones of anti-poverty work.

“‘Hope’ in the sense portrayed as vision; a person, or an organization or a community standing for something, having big hopes and dreams. Faith is the tenacious pursuit of hope,” she said.

Cyros said that charity, hope and faith are the cornerstones of her anti-poverty work. She separated her meaning of charity from one defined by author and community activist Robert Lupton, author of the 2012 book “Toxic Charity.” Lupton maintains in his book that much of charity, although well-intentioned, “exacts an unintended toll on another’s dignity.” He states that decades of free aid from well-meaning people and organizations produces an entitlement mentality and eroded a spirit of entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency.

To expand on that definition, Cyros said she believes that “to be charitable is to create an environment in which people take responsibility for each other in ways that constantly release the potential of individuals.”

“None of us are self-sufficient…..All of life is interdependent,” she said.

The Rev. Oliver Jones of St. Paul’s Church talked of the hard work and obstacles that the poor face once the “bottom has fallen out.”

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