California''s kids are surrounded by dollar signs, yet nearly a third live in poverty. To them, this might as well be the Great Depression. What are we doing wrong? How can we do better?

Stephanie Ludwig

Age: 28 Resides: Atwater

Occupation: Teacher

Why are there so many poor children? Babies are having babies, resulting in unwanted kids and parents with poor parenting skills. Teenagers with low self-worth want babies.

What must we do differently? We need to let people know that having kids is not as easy as it seems, instead of painting this glorious picture.

How are kids influenced by our materialistic society? Poor kids have resentment when they see other kids who have so much stuff. They may get the message if they can''t have it, then go ahead and take it. Kids grow up angry and depressed.

Season Makamara

Age: 35 Resides: Orange County

Occupation: Policy development

Why are there so many poor children? It''s sad. There''s bad luck and bad decisions on the parents'' part. Teenage pregnancies and parents who don''t have an education add to the problem. How kids turn out depends on family structure.

What must we do differently? We can donate our time to help kids. Family values provide a foundation that help kids have self-confidence.

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Matt Potter

Age: 35 Resides: San Jose

Occupation: Graphic designer

Why are there so many poor children? Kids are born into families who can''t afford them.

What must we do differently? We need to spend more money on social services. People can support government initiatives that deal with the situation.

How are kids influenced by materialism? Kids are influenced by consumerism and will try to get things they want.

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