BLOG: 5E’s How To Get Off Welfare


5E’s of How To Get Off Welfare


When the Great Depression happened in this country and over half of the country abled bodied worker were unemployed President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Social Security Act was enacted in 1935.  This Act was a social act loss given to families to subsidize the loss of an income producing father. Welfare encompasses those government programs that provide benefits and economic assistance to no or low income Americans. It can also be defined as financial assistance to poor Americans  supplied by paid taxes of the working class. One of the main goals of welfare US is to improve the quality of life and living standards for the poor and underprivileged. Welfare help is usually extended to people groups other than just the poor and underprivileged such as the elderly, the disabled, students, and unpaid workers, such as mothers and caregivers.  The intent of welfare in its inception was great, but the results has been a catastrophe because now there is massive abuse from abled body people not wanting to do anything different.

Below are some of the main welfare programs being abused by abled body people

Welfare programs available in the United States include: Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Head Start, Work Study, and Medicare. Social Security, often times called an entitlement program, is also considered one of the welfare programs in the U.S.. TANF is probably one of the most recognized and abused of the welfare programs. Formerly known as Aid to Families with Dependant Children (AFDC), TANF was a reform measure for this program. No longer a lifelong program as AFDC was, TANF limits welfare benefits to a specified period of time. The states set these limitations, and most state’s plans terminate TANF benefits after five years.  The clock of TANF stops and even starts over when a women is pregnant with a new child.


My process steps below are intended for abled body people to have a means to get off the welfare system with my 5E’s.



If only environments you know are the ones that is keeping you in poverty, then those are the environments you will want.   Normally those receipts on welfare assistance collaborate with others in the same situation.  The adage, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  If you want more you must expose yourself to more.  If nothing is what you shot for, then nothing is what you will hit.  Intentionally seek friendships, programs and associations with people that are not on or about welfare.  This means you need to start hanging out with the opposite of people you currently hang with because you want to expand not disband your life.  For starters catch the bus, cab or drive to a wealthy area and observe their parks, houses, malls and daily life in their communities.  This should spark a noticeable difference to you in your head about your own situation.




*Take advantage of free classes offered to you *Read about 30 minutes every day*Watch a TED talk *Read up on “funny” material* Learn a new word everyday* Watch documentaries * Take up a new language * Follow blogs *Do crossword puzzles *Join a reading clubs.  If you are going to get more in your hip pocket you got to get more in your head socket.  To earn more you need to learn more.  Formal classroom learning may not be the route for you at first, but you can start reading books, magazines and googling areas of your learning interest now. Remember whatever you learn new is education and this can be done without traditional classrooms.   Inform yourself about topics like business, housing, politics, money, fitness and health as starters.


You need to become motivated to be delivered off welfare like it is a disease.   Often times the mood of those on welfare is of the groom and doom.  I believe that you receive into your life what type of emotions you give out.  Find a few things you can be absolutely excited about and think on those things every day.  I recommend that you bring your own weather with you because it is enough rainy weather in our world that pulls our attitudes down.  When the going gets tough the tough get more excited about their goals of success.  Saturate your walls with pictures of happiness, get a happy apt on your phone, start watching exciting movies, listen to exciting speakers all to keep you in a state of excitement.  You need high energy emotions to break through the gloom and doom that welfare brings.



Start your journey off welfare with a vision broad of exploration.  Find people, pictures of places and things you see as successful and develop a timeline to getting there.  You may not be off welfare completely by the time you get to this stage, but explore places you want to end up now.  Having an end in mind is highly important for you to break this cycle.  You may not go to new places physically, so let your fingers do the traveling on google and find out how others outside your circle of influence really live.  Without a vision your emancipation from welfare is not possible.  Explore new places, gain new friends, read new books, go to new schools, go to new places of worship and find new people that can mentor you in moving toward success.  Develop some new habits like hang gliding, mountain climbing, parachuting or anything that elevates your view of our world.  Make sure your vision board goals stretch you so far that you become a different person in process of obtaining your explorations before you get there.


Many recipients — particularly the “long-term” dependents — welfare clearly pays substantially more than an entry-level jobs.  “In 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare pays more than an $8-an-hour job” says Michael Tanner a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.   In 12 states and DC, the welfare package is more generous than a $15-an-hour job.  Usually a recipient with little to no education would be hard pressed to give up the luxury welfare.  Nevertheless, you must because of your independence.  An acronym for job to many welfare recipients is just over broke.  Many times you were broke before you got the job and it feels like you are just over that while employed.  One way to change this is to begin looking at yourself as an independent business professional looking for partnerships.  If those partnerships are traditional employment fine, but it is wise to start a small generating business now.  My recommendations are for you to start your own business.  Find out what you are good at whether it is a product or service, and start generating some income.  You are not trying to hit a home run with this small business, just think about getting on base and in the future taking it further.  You want to begin making your own money and paying your way which grows your mindset to stay independent of welfare.


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3 examples Of Creativity

What I learned?

When I take a closer up at everything there is an element of creativity in it. No creativity is equal or better than the next.  Each is unique to its own design.  All my examples had a spark of genius.  Makers took a look at the same old models and made technologically advances to them and changed how people experience them.   My football example has experienced creative technology coming in changing an old traditional grid iron game into a new star trek experience for fans and players.  Any fan and player at a stadium game or watching elsewhere can use tablets, their smartphones, DVRs or a social media outlets to keep up with their favorite teams, playbooks and scores(Brousell, 2014).


Key Aha Insights

The big takeaway for me was how virtual glasses, instant replays, and online citizenship is in three different areas but had one similarity, changed the human experience.  Same old roller coasters, same old character values and football and with intentionally innovation changed forever how we experience it.

Conceptualizing What Is Creativity

What I learned?

My design centric was a flipped classroom method for active learning.  I learned traditional education in not in for everyone.  There is more learning happening in collaboration, independent study, video homework and virtual lessons plans.  When I observed this style of teaching I learned it was just student centered verse lesson plan centered.

Key Aha Insights

As educators if learning is not going on in our classes then our teaching is ineffective.  Flipped classrooms are an alternative way to reach students that does not thrive in traditional settings.  The takeaways for me are students have more control, lessons are more accessible and students get a chance to use technology in the learning.

2 Creative People Interviewed

What I learned?

The notable differences I seen is Lady J has a product that adds value and Pastor Pat has a service that adds value.  Pastor Pat begun with an already established group and is pushing it to become bigger through multiple sites.  Lady J started organically and is building a customer base in order to grow into a franchising business someday.     Both parties had a high self –efficacy and showed if you were going to be success you must work your plan even when people disbelieve.

Key Aha Insights

Both were focused on their process.  Both have little mottos they say all the time to others that gives credibility to what they are doing.  They both exhibit strong leadership and good people skills. Pastor Pat said, “Leadership is all about influence” (Maxwell, 2008).


What I learned?

My main observation with Syed’s Bounce book is the process analysis he used to identify success in sports, yet the principles can be used in all success areas.  Talent is overrated because it is not enough to keep you at the top.   The purposeful practice in any discipline has a greater chance to yield sustained success.

Key Aha Insights

Syed was a champion at table tennis and could speak to habits that form a champion in anything.  I enjoyed his explanation about society and sports in “Are Blacks Superior Runners” because sports is the closest thing we have to measure worth ( Syed, 2010).  Human potential at its highest is seen in sports because competition brings it out of us and the spoils go to the victor.

Journey Of Your Creative Self

What I learned?

I learned the better prepared I am the more successful the outcome because pressure is real.  Given the task to develop a process for deviant youth over the summer in 1997 placed a lot pressure on me.  I was only twenty one years old at the time and my self-efficacy was not like it is today.  I learned process needed to be simple with an end in mind.  In those days I had too much focus on my outcome product, but I should have focused more on the process.  I learned to rid my lesson plans and lectures of assumptions that I can teach these young people character education because I come from similar backgrounds.  Syed(2010) says, “If the performer feels no pressure then there is no pressure.” I applied this then and now to how I approach all new ventures.

Key Aha Insights

Transformation as a learner and educator happened to me.  As I grew I viewed, “learning cannot be reduced to merely intellectual activity”, because it became so much more than that for me.  I saw real change in many of those youth that summer.  I have adopted the philosophy of teaching for change and being a change agent in the world.





Brousell, L. (2014, August 26). 7 new technologies take the field this NFL season. . Retrieved

from     the-field-this-nfl-season.htm


Maxwell, J. C. (2008). Leadership gold: Lessons I’ve learned from a lifetime of leading. Harper


Syed, M. (2010). Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the science of success.

Harper Collins.

5 Lessons from the Ed. Collabitat Rockstars

If you want to be a rockstar educator, you need good role models, so listen up!

For the past 2 months, a group of intrepid teachers and I have been exploring the roots and fruits of creativity in a space at UMSL named the Education Collabitat.  Over that time, a few important lessons have been made clear.  Some of these gleanings came from the assigned readings, and some of them came from the participation of fellow educators, but all of the following insights have been powerful revelations for me, serving to (I hope) establish a foundation and a context on which to build new understandings and new practical applications in the years to come.

So, without further adieu, here’s a few of the shiniest nuggets of wisdom I’ve gathered in my time at the Ed. Collabitat:

1)  Jarvis James:  Let It Fly!

The first couple of meetings of this cohort were like my worst nightmare come to life.  I loathe ice-breaker games.  Utterly loathe them.  Most of the reason for this feeling comes from the context in which I’m usually subjected to them:  Building PD Sessions.  As a part of the regular, hectic to and fro of the school day, these activities seems such a waste of time.  “I have papers to grade, dammit!” is my battle-cry, so when we started playing catch with invisible balls and paper-rock-scissors, my stomach dropped.

Then came the mash-up.  As we each wrote our creativity-defining words on the colored construction paper, folded them, and began the business of silently arranging them on the ground, I became instantly appalled.  “Why?”  The question paralyzed me, so harried was my search for meaning.  I feigned participation for a minute, then stepped back to let the folks who seemed to have a plan work it out.

As I watched the activity evolve in to the third dimension, I became increasingly blocked.  What in the hell were they doing now?  And why?  WHY?  Finally, after all the words had been folded and stood on end, everyone stood back in reverent silence at what we had done.  An air of deep significance settled in on the group.  Eyes flicked nervously to Drs. Cordova and Balcerzak, looking for approval.  We all held our breath a moment longer . . . and then it happened.

From above and to my right, a pink paper airplane came sailing—an emissary from outside this circle of confusion and uncertainty carrying with it a message of force, direction, and lift.  It landed clumsily amongst the folded words, knocking a few of them aside, interrupting the obscure pattern on the floor.

There was no pause.  The circle immediately erupted with laughter (myself included).  It was the perfectly absurd ending to an activity which, at least for me and up to this point, seemed mostly meaningless.

In that moment, and as I followed the ensuing discussion during which our leaders and my colleagues unpacked the activity and tried to make meaning from it, I became aware of something important.  Jarvis’ anarchistic, avionic antics showed me that this would be a place where individuality would be accepted, enfolded in to our discussion.  He showed me that laughter and critique were both fair game here.  He reminded me that breaking the silence, cutting through a system that seems misguided, opens doors for others.  The moment reminded me that, as educators, we are in the business of change—for our students, for ourselves, and for our communities—and that, when we feel inspired, curious, or adventurous, we cannot afford to be afraid to let one fly!

2)  Matthew Syed:  We Can All Bounce!

Our cornerstone text for this early part of the semester has been Matthew Syed’s Bounce, a book which has solidified for me an understanding of how and why “talent” emerges in learners.  Reading this book, reflecting on its contents, and discussing it with colleagues has taught me that improvement is universally possible.  There is none of us who has reached a peak.  This is true of my struggling students who have not thus far had the platform they needed to push and grow their literacy skills.  This is true of my high-flyers who, in appearing to master the game of school, are starting to believe they’ve been there, done that, and that there’s nothing new under the sun.  This is true for me, as a teacher, who as of last year was starting to stagnate, settle, and sell myself and my students short.  And this is true for our nation of schools searching for ways to improve our product and better serve students and communities.

If the way forward seems difficult, or even impossible, Syed’s reflections remind us that, despite that appearance, it is not.  All that is required is exposing one’s self to new inputs—instruction, feedback, and purposeful practice—and remaining open to change.  Because improvement is change, and change is creativity.  Creating something new—a new direction, a new model, a new method, etc.—is all about integrating new understandings in to what we previously understood as true and good.  For my students, for me, what is needed for progress is a strong sense of purpose, an open mind, and a willingness to fail.

I have all three of these things.

I am ready to bounce.

3)  Dr. Ralph Cordova:  Walking the Walk

This is going to come off as brown-nosing, but I don’t care.  I have praise to heap, so heap it I shall!

Week by week, Dr. Cordova has practiced what he preaches.  That is to say, it’s clear that the way he’s designed and taught this class is informed and inspired by the very things we’re learning.  Starting by opening the door for empathy, he helped facilitate experiences that promoted that stance toward each other.  This has been the grease that my slightly rusty wheels have needed, making dialogue with my classmates more open and productive.  Anyone who doubts how our experiences have opened the way for more authentic conversations should think back to our first night together back in August:  “The Interview”.  Compare that night, how we sat around the table stewing in our own uncertainty and will to impress, to our most recent class meeting, so full of laughs and smiles and honest sharing, and I’m fairly certain you’ll see what I see:  Namely, that the experiences we’ve had together have created a foundation perfect for building new and creative ideas.

Once the mood was properly set for creative collaboration, we launched forward in to an individualized exploration of a few anchor texts.  This approach, which melds both a common source of input and the diversity of our own opinions about it, has provided the perfect balance for new and creative thinking about our practice.  In as much as my quiet reflections and writings have helped to concretize my own ideas, my conversations with classmates have opened new possibilities.  For example, as we prepared for our interviews and shared our questions with each other, I “borrowed” several questions from my conversant which I hadn’t thought of myself, and in the end, these questions led to some of the more interesting answers I got from the interview.

I can see how our process of generating questions last week to explore an area of need in our professional worlds is linked in with the design process of “needfinding,” and it’s been very interesting to be working through the process ourselves while at the same time learning about it in the abstract.  The power and adaptability of this approach is clear, and I can’t wait to learn about it in greater detail and start incorporating it in to my own practice.

4)  Chef Jeffrey Seaborn, April Burton, Gilbert Chlewicki, Kristi Litton, et al.:  Creativity Abounds!

You may not know these folks unless you travel in their circles, but make no mistake about it:  These.  Are.  Rockstars.  In addition to the physically present educators, a whole slew of other “creatives” have entered the Collabitat in spirit, as it were, summoned here by each of us in an effort to explore some concrete examples of creative thought and action.  The range of examples and the unifying threads between their stories made one thing clear to me:  Creativity abounds!  Whether it be a teacher, a chef, or a traffic engineer, wherever there is a will toward improvement and a passion for learning, there will always be creativity.  This is as true behind the screen of a computer as it is behind the grill as it is behind the big desk in our own classrooms.  We—each of us—has the capacity to innovate and explore new ways of doing, knowing, and being.   Which brings me to the final rockstar of the post . . .

5)  Me:

When I examine my experiences in the program so far, I can see a growing complication, a problematizing of the word “creativity”.  When I started, I thought it was something only artists possessed, and that it was a largely inherent quality.  As I continue on this journey, however, I have come to understand a few things.

a)  I am creative as all get-out.  I never would have said that a few months ago, but now I can see it: I make hundreds of creative decisions every day, and have made many thousands of them over the course of my career. In the ways I solve problems both human and content-related, in the ways I plan lessons, in the ways I compose curriculum, I am a very creative individual.  Creativity is in the doing, not in the being.

b)  I’ve gotten more creative the longer I’ve taught.  As the rote aspects of the profession carve their way in to my days, I have more processing power available to problem-solve and reconfigure. What’s more, I can continue to grow as a creator of content and experiences for my students. Sky’s the limit.

c)  My own creativity has been fostered by others, and I can do the same for other teachers and students around me.  There are certain conditions that ripen creative thought more effectively. I can become more aware of these conditions, and then create them both around myself and around my students.

d)  Being a rockstar requires courage.  Creative ideas often get pushback at first (from within and without), but fighting through that resistance is the only way to change and improve.

The above-listed rockstars and I are starting to build a platform on which that kind of progress can thrive:  A place where mistakes are opportunities for further learning and discovery, a place where action and design is rooted in empathy, a place where learners follow the path of their own identity and passions while at the same time becoming exposed and acclimated to new knowledge and skills.  I’ve always suspected teaching was more art than science, and this new way of thinking about what I do is helping to confirm that suspicion.  Now I see that teaching and learning is essentially creative, and that, as educators, our #1 job is to find the best ways to honor that fact.

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