Writers note: I met Kasie in early 2016 as a student at West Virginia Northern Community college in Wheeling. I found her ideas fascinating and her story inspiring. We’ve discussed politics, race, poverty, and economics, both sharing our thoughts and opinions – passionately. Kasie has overcome many obstacles in life, but maintains great optimism in the face of uncertainty. I am proud to know Kasie and am consistently inspired by her extraordinary work with the Veteran’s community. This is Kasie.
How has experiencing poverty changed you as a person?
Experiencing poverty has made me a very humble person. I know what it’s like to be at rock bottom and will never forget what that felt like. It humbles you and keeps you in check with what other people’s realities may be.
Can you describe any stigma you have faced because of using safety net programs? How has that impacted your self-esteem?
I have used SNAP benefits before and felt guilty using them in the grocery store in front of other people, while dressed nicely and having an iPhone in my hand. Some people, or even the cashier has given dirty looks when seeing that a person is using an EBT card. It made me feel as if someone who uses SNAP should be dressed like they are poor, and not be allowed to have a phone.
If you had an opportunity to speak to your representatives about safety net programs like SNAP and Medicaid, what would you say?
Safety net programs need a transitional period. When someone is getting assistance and has a change in their income situation, it would be extremely helpful to have a transitional period before taking away their benefits.
What makes you optimistic about the future?
As the quote says, “be the change you want to see in the world”, I believe that people like myself, who recognize the changes that need to be made, and puts the extra effort into their communities, will make changes and create a more positive and brighter future for generations to come.