The following is a summary of a panel discussion about poverty in Fulton County that took place March 23, 2017. The forum took place at the Canton Church of the Brethren and was moderated by Pastor Kevin Kessler. Panelists included Missy Kolowski of the Health and Wellness Clinic of Fulton County, Rolf Siversten Superintendent CUSD #66, Paster Monroe Bailey of the First Baptist Church, Brooke Denniston Executive Director of the YWCA, Paula Grigsby Executive Director of the YMCA, Rhonda Morgan from the Salvation Army and Teri Williams director of Spoon River Pregnancy Center.
Burma-Shave was a brand of shaving cream famous for its humorous advertisements during the 1920s (check out the link here to see some examples for yourself). They had a reputation sort of like Geico does today; a company known for doing unconventional commercial advertisements with their own quirky sense of style. Yet perhaps another reason for their success lies not in the content of their ads, but new trends in American life in the 1920s that emphasized more materialistic values of status and wealth. Or as sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen called conspicuous consumption; spending money on luxurious goods to flaunt the wealth and status of the buyer.
A recent podcast on NPR Ted Radio Hour asked the question ¨What are the 5 biggest problems in the world?¨ (you can listen to the podcast here or search ¨Ted Radio Hour¨ on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts). Let’s take a closer look and then ask the question ¨What are the 5 biggest problems facing Rural America?¨
We’ve explored a number of topics revolving around social problems we face in rural America, but just because we’re studying problems in rural America doesn’t mean everyone is miserable. Rural places are awesome places to live and there’s endless amounts of great things going on. But here´s our essential question today – can one make the case that you are happier living in a small town than anywhere else? To find out, we were very fortunate to discuss this topic with author & Knox College psychology professor, Tim Kasser. Dr. Kasser is well-known for his research on happiness which he’s conducted over the past 20 years. He is the author of several book such as 2002s¨The High Price of Materialism¨ and has been featured in documentary films like 2011s ¨Happy¨ which explored reasons why even though the US has the largest economy, we rank just 23rd in happiest nations throughout the world.
On this episode we wanted to share a cool experience we recently had in our psychology class. We were visited by the lovely Mrs. Karen Hahn a social worker from Psychology Specialists in Canton, IL. Karen’s visit is definitely consistent with our objective to examine the social problems we face in our own context of rural America; specifically these 16 counties in western IL referred to by many as Forgottonia. In fact if we want firsthand insights of what exactly the issues are and what it takes to overcome them, I’m not sure there’s anybody better to talk to then a social worker like Karen.
Part 1 – Karen’s Story (0 – 4 min)
Karen Hahn is a licensed clinical social worker at Psychology Specialists in Canton, IL. She grew up on a farm and was a good student throughout school. She wanted to be an accountant because they made money. She attended Truman State University to get a business degree, but discovered she had a passion for sociology. About 1.5 years later, she changed her major–despite her father’s protest– and got a degree in child and family health. From there she moved to Canton and worked at a daycare, with runaways, in the foster system, the college, and the community mental health system; all these places with a social service degree. Later she discovered a passion for working with hospice patients.