Pearland Non-Profit Focuses on Middle Class

The goal of a fledgling non-profit in Pearland is to help middle-class families understand issues that effect them so they can act in their own self interest. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports that "Communities United to Strengthen America" is focusing its efforts on three broad topics.

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Those topics are economic prosperity, quality health care and retirement security. Amanda Ramon is the director of the Pearland resource center and says the mission is to break down information into understandable terms so middle class families are aware of issues that can have a direct impact on their lives. Ramon says tackling big issues at the family level can have an impact.

"People need to make their voices heard in order to make these issues affect them in the most positive manor and I think every voice does count, every letter you write to Congress, every letter you write to the editor, every phone call you make, every vote you cast; all of these things are taken very seriously and should be utilized as your voice for making the best sound decisions to affect your pocketbook."

The pocketbook issue in the spot light this month is education. Communities United is concerned that the federal government is making it more difficult for middle class families to pay for college. To explain the issues and get signatures on a petition asking Congress to make higher education funds available to the middle class, an action day is set for September 30th. Community's United staff and volunteers will take their message door to door. Ramon says generally people are receptive to the neighbor to neighbor approach.

"People like our message because we're different. It's no secret it's an election year and there is all its negative campaigning out there, and everybody is attacking each other. Our information is just information; it's just about the issues, its non-partisan and people like that they can just get the facts and none of the party rhetoric with it. It has been encouraging because people like our message because we're so different."

Bridgette Hall is a graduate student at the University of Houston and while looking for an internship found an organization that could affect her life.

"I'm financing my own education and so a lot of the information they presented about the rising cost of college tuition, cuts and certain types of loans, that's going to affect my personal finances, so it's definitely going to affect me."

Communities United to Strengthen America is headquartered in Washington, DC. with 12 locations around the country. Amanda Ramon says all 12 are a lot like Pearland.

"Pearland is a pretty good picture of what a middle class community looks like; the income is about middle class, the houses, their commute, their issues, their involvement in their families lives."

And Ramon says it's the middle class that Communities United is trying to reach.

To learn more about Communities United and its petition and volunteer opportunities, you'll find a link at kuhf.org.

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