Change the Narrative Fellow featured in WHYY: “Pandemic-era benefits are long gone. Philly advocates are trying to bridge the gap for families living in poverty”

As a member of our second cohort of Change the Narrative Fellows, Alisha Gillespie delved into the themes of housing, gender, and economic security during her time with the Change the Narrative Fellowship. Now, she is a member of the Network Advisory Council for the Building Health and Wealth Network at Drexel University. She was recently interviewed and featured in WHYY for an article written by journalist Vicky Diaz-Camacho about how the end of pandemic-era benefits have made it harder for low-income families to bridge the gap. 

PHILADELPHIA (WHYY) – Alisha Gillespie likes to focus on silver linings.

Flashing a smile in her new home in Chester, she is an advocate for people like her. Her life experiences are her expertise. One day, she hopes to be a motivational speaker.

Gillespie, 34, was born into poverty, but wants to change that trajectory for her own kids.

“Poverty is for me … the hustle everyday just to get the bare necessities. That is what poverty is to me. Just to be able to survive,” Gillespie said. “You have to fight for everything you want and need.”

The latest Census report reveals a stark reality. Childhood poverty rates nationwide have doubled since the year prior. Experts call it “family poverty.”

Just one year prior, those rates had hit historic lows.

Gillespie, a single mother with three young boys, 16, 11, and 8 years old, feels like she is stuck in a revolving door at the welfare offices. She is tired of being a regular.

Read the full article on WHYY here.