Fighting Poverty with Passion
What I enjoy most about the Tulane AmeriCorp VISTA program is that I get to connect with people from different cities, engage in service throughout the city of New Orleans, and work at a non-profit that is creating an environment where local businesses can thrive. Participants of this program get free housing, weekly professional development, and support and training at their work site.
It is easy for experiences like this to sound like a dream but while working in the non-profit world you always have to be ready for the unexpected.
One of the systems that I believe we can improve on is our pay system. We need an effective system that will make sure we get paid on time and I believe that we currently do not have it. As a AmeriCorp VISTA, I have committed to living below the poverty line in order to serve. In addition, I made a commitment to do well so that I can build capacity at the site that I have been assigned to in exchange for a living stipend that barely pays all of my bills. I have been affected by a pay system that caused me not get paid on time twice.
So, what do I do when I am not getting paid on time? Do I get mad? Do I just wait? Do I demand that if my money does not come on time, I refuse to work? Do I offer a solution? Do I make known how not getting paid on time has a negative impact on my life for three days as I wait until my paycheck finally decides to come through?
I believe that the pay system that we have been using for the last ten years is not working. This system is lacking accountability and it is lacking a sense of urgency. Money and time matters because I cannot afford to not get paid on time. While offering cash as a temporary solution may seem decent, for something that has been happening consistently as a solution, it seems like a cover up to me.