December 26, 2004: Headlines: COS - Costa Rica: Kalamazoo Gazette: Costa Rica RPCV Kimberly Crider takes a break for baby

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Costa Rica: Peace Corps Costa Rica : The Peace Corps in Costa Rica: December 26, 2004: Headlines: COS - Costa Rica: Kalamazoo Gazette: Costa Rica RPCV Kimberly Crider takes a break for baby

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Costa Rica RPCV Kimberly Crider takes a break for baby

Costa Rica RPCV Kimberly Crider takes a break for baby

Costa Rica RPCV Kimberly Crider takes a break for baby

Local leader in war on poverty takes a break for baby
Sunday, December 26, 2004
By Ed Finnerty 388-8551

The woman brought to Kalamazoo last year to wage war on poverty is on bed rest.

So she's leading the fight from her living-room recliner instead of her downtown office.

"I'm just taking it day by day," Kimberly Crider, coordinator of the Kalamazoo Poverty Reduction Initiative, said in a telephone interview from her home in Kalamazoo.

Crider is expected to give birth to her first child by early February, and is under doctor's orders to stay home and off her feet. That's a challenge for the 30-year-old Cleveland native, who is diminutive in stature and long on energy and enthusiasm for her work.

Crider spent three years with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica before coming to Kalamazoo, and has also been a caseworker for Children Protective Services and social worker for the Salvation Army. She arrived here in late January to coordinate a fledgling effort to reduce poverty.

About one in every four people in Kalamazoo and one in eight in Kalamazoo County live in poverty, according to federal government standards. A coordinated effort to cut into some of that poverty was launched in early 2003 by a coalition of local business, school, government and community organizations.

The Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative has since flown pretty much under the public's radar, partly by design. It isn't meant to make headlines with a bevy of new programs, but rather to coordinate existing services for the poor and generate more resources for them.

"We don't want to be duplicating services," Crider said. "What we are saying is, 'Where are the gaps that we can fill in?' "

"We have been doing planning and simultaneously getting some things started," she said of the group's work in 2004.

For instance, the initiative is helping expand a program that offers tax assistance to low-income people by helping them claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

It is teaming with housing advocates working on creation of a trust fund and other strategies to make housing more affordable in Kalamazoo County.

The initiative is collaborating with businesses to bolster job training and employment services for low-income individuals.

And it has targeted a section of Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood for extensive attention because of the neighborhood's many residents who live in poverty and its large numbers of youths and single mothers.

Crider is characteristically upbeat about what the initiative can accomplish in the coming year.

"I do think this is a very resource-rich community," she said.

"There are a lot of organizations that are competing against each other for funding, and we need to find a way to bring those folks to the table and say that, instead of competing, how can we find ways to collaborate?"

While Crider is home and then on maternity leave, college interns are helping to staff the initiative. An administrative assistant will start work at the initiative's Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce office in January.

"We really are on the right track here in Kalamazoo," Crider said. "I'm optimistic."

And, she's looking forward to the joys of motherhood. "I'm a woman of faith," she said of her pregnancy and orders to rest.

"I kind of put (everything) in God's hands."

© 2004 Kalamazoo. Used with permission

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.

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Gov. Jim Doyle streamlines state government 22 Dec
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Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers 21 Dec
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Director Vasquez decries racism and discrimination 20 Dec
RPCV criticizes "harrassment by Russian government" 20 Dec
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Story Source: Kalamazoo Gazette

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Costa Rica



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