The word environment is quite broad in its meaning and interpretation.  This is because what encompass the term environment can be micro (immediate surroundings), or macro (governmental climate or global considerations), which shapes people in profound ways.  Viewing each person as a unit, a collection of tiny units makes up a community, which is a subset of a much larger picture of what makes a society.  There is a strange chicken and the egg situation with the environment in this context; does the environment of society influence the individual, or does the collection of individuals influence society.  It is hard to determine which one is more important because of the point at which one begins and the other ends is difficult to determine.

In order to make sense of the how the environment shapes a person it makes a lot of sense to start small and work upwards.  The shaping of a person starts at home and a lot of the end result is guided by parents.  Parents tend to raise their kids based largely on the way they were raised and sometimes adapt to the immediate circumstances when necessary.  Kids cannot be raised in the exact same way that their parents were raised because times change and the parents were raised under a different set of circumstances.  Despite the changes made over time one thing that is consistent over the course of generations are the values that are transferred from generation to generation.    

One major factor that shapes the values that are transferred from generation to generation is the social standing in which a person was raised.  For example, if someone comes from an impoverished family, their value system would be much different than someone who came from an affluent background.  If someone was poor their view of material possessions would more likely hold some sentimental value because they would have become intimately familiar with scarcity throughout their lives.  In contrast, someone from a more affluent background might take material possessions and many other things for granted because they have easier access to resources to accommodate the lifestyle that they have become used to. 

The educational and school system that someone finds themselves in has probably the biggest impact on how a person is shaped to become the person they end up becoming.  Again, social standing plays a role in what resources a person has to work with in order to advance their education.  If a school has armed guards, metal detectors, mold throughout the building, and an overwhelming sense of despair because the neighborhood surrounding the school is blighted, that situation will create barriers for productive education to take place.  Conversely, if someone lives in an affluent area where they have small class sizes that allows more attention to be paid to individual students, gourmet meals served at lunch, and the parents biggest problem is which extracurricular activity to enroll their kid in, that affluent kid is going to have a much easier road to success.   

One of the reasons Making It to The Finish Line exist is to help the less affluent out because of the many obstacles that the affluent do not have to worry about.  Being successful at this task requires a community effort which is on the micro level.  The macro level and how it shapes an individual is something that will be discussed in a future post.  If you or anyone you know can help in anyway do not hesitate to call Gladys at 313-460-0569. 

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