I’m a Downward Mobility Dropout–Guest Post by Stina KC

Stina and I are real-life friends (our babies are besties, too). We met at the little Mennonite church she talks about in this here essay, and I am so glad we did. Stina and I were recently talking about this Downward Mobility series, and I expressed my disappointment that there weren’t more posts about the struggle of it all. Oh, I can write about that, she said. And boy, can this girl write.

I’m grateful for her honesty, which is so hard to share in public. So often we just want to hear the stories of the out-and-out-successes. But I am drawn to the stories of hunger, of struggle, of inner conflict and even failure. Because there is a lot of “failure” in the upside-down kingdom, at least by empire standards. I am learning to make friends with it, however, one little day at a time. 






I’m a Downward Mobility Dropout

by Stina KC



When my daughter was born, we lived in the most diverse neighborhood in America. She learned to walk in the hallways of an apartment building filled with cooking smells from our East African neighbors. During that bleary first year of motherhood, I would pace the noisy streets outside our apartment building with my baby strapped to my chest, praying that the drone of cars and traffic would lull her to sleep. I would shield her little face from cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes as I walked by strangers on the street. People were often drunk at the bus stop one block away and prostitutes hung out at the corner when the daylight faded. I would keep walking, moving quickly to avoid contact with my neighbors.


My husband and I first moved to this neighborhood when we were recent Christian college graduates, young and idealistic about Jesus, Shane Claiborne’s “Ordinary Radicals,” and downward mobility. We didn’t make much with our AmeriCorps stipends and social service salaries, but we didn’t care. We shared duplexes with friends, saving money on rent to buy fixed gear bicycles and shop organic at the co-op. We belonged to a house church with other young misfits, going dumpster diving and holding clothing swaps. But even though we lived in the most diverse neighborhood in America, we didn’t really know anyone who wasn’t like us.

After our house church crumbled and our faith began its slow cynical drift, we started attending a small Mennonite church a few blocks away. On that first Sunday morning, a gray-haired man with kind eyes thanked us for coming and gave us a fair trade soup mix, a special gift for visitors. I knew we were home when, in our first hymn, we sang about becoming “midwives of justice.” During the sharing of prayers and concerns, a man asked for prayer for immigration reform. Another shared the news of South Sudan. I relaxed in my pew.


I listened to my voicemail message one evening in late October after putting my daughter to bed. Something about the lead test results. I should call this number, it’s urgent. I sat down at the kitchen table, hitting redial.

Someone answered: “Your daughter’s lead test came back elevated. Do you know how serious this could be for her development?” I didn’t know anything about lead. I googled it and a shot of fear like ice water raced through my body. Behavioral issues. Long term learning disabilities. Brain damage

As the man on the phone rattled off some tips for limiting exposure, I wrote manic notes on a discarded envelope. “What’s your address?” he asked. He looked it up on the city’s database. “Oh, yeah. You’re in a high impact area. You live at 2825 Park? I see cases of elevated lead at 2828 and 2830 and, wow, it’s all over the place. The blocks around you, too.”

The county sent over a woman with a smoker’s cough to test our floors and windows for lead dust. (“I love the fixtures in here,” she said. “We get to see so many old homes.”) We got the results a week later. Our bedroom window well, the same spot where our daughter loved to slap her hands while watching city buses and bike commuters, had lead levels of 38,700. Safe levels are below 400.

I thought about our neighbors on the third floor, the Ethiopian Pentecostals with two small children who hosted prayer meetings on Tuesday evenings, shoes in a pile outside their apartment door. I thought about the Mexican family who lived across the street in the house with the broken steps and abandoned toys in their yard. I wondered about the kids who get picked up at the bus stop on 28th and Columbus. Have they been tested? Do their parents know?

At first, my moral outrage fueled conversations about petitions and tenant rights and lawsuits. We could stay and fight. But then I started leaving the apartment for most of the day, camping out at my parents’ house so my daughter wouldn’t be tempted to play at the windows. Soon, we were apartment searching and then signing a lease and suddenly it wasn’t my problem anymore.

We moved two and half months later, in the middle of January. Our Mennonite church friends helped carry our craigslisted couch down icy steps and load it into a Ford pick-up. Three hours later we stood in our new apartment across town, surrounded by boxes and Rubbermaid totes from Target.

The next morning I took my daughter outside, her snowsuit zipped up to her chin. As I watched her toddle along the sidewalks, I thought about my old neighbors and their kids and the lead dust they were breathing. I never really knew them, only a handful of names in my memory, and we were gone now.


This story is painful to recount. I have felt guilty for leaving, for not fighting my landlord like the “midwives of justice” that my church sings about. I know it isn’t God’s will for my daughter to breathe in lead dust. I also know it isn’t God’s will for any child to breathe in lead dust, to live in poverty, to attend crappy schools.

Jesus’ call to downward mobility felt so obvious when I was in my early 20s. But over the years, I never put in the daily work of building mutual relationships with my neighbors and so, when the crisis came, it was easy to leave them behind. Now I panic that I am becoming one of those wishy-washy Christians I always belittled, their faiths flimsy and fearful. I worry that my faith is drifting, that if it isn’t radical and downwardly mobile it’s just ash in the wind.

Still, I return every Sunday to my old neighborhood for church. I smile at the corner stores and familiar graffiti murals from my car window. I keep showing up, singing the hymns, making small talk over coffee cake. I keep leaning into the body of Christ, this holy community of which I am one imperfect part. And I pray small short prayers, asking God for more faith, another opportunity. Asking God for courage and obedience and grace.



DSC01407Stina is living up the last year of her 20s by doing things that scare her, like writing for strangers on the internet. She is an angsty Anglican/Anabaptist hybrid who likes to use words like “intentionality” and “marginalized” in everyday conversations. Stina lives in the American heartland with her husband and daughter.








For all posts in the Downward Mobility series, please click here.

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49 thoughts on “I’m a Downward Mobility Dropout–Guest Post by Stina KC

  1. Jon Kuhrt says:

    Thanks for this post – so important that there is honesty in these conversations about how to live radically and what this looks like when you have kids. it reminded me of the best line in Urban Mission I have ever read was by Andy Dorton, a Christian social activist living on an estate in Hull, Yorkshire in the UK for the last 15 years who wrote ‘The problem with Jesus is that he never had kids; claim he understands all our temptations if you like, but he never had kids’

    I don’t like the phrase ‘downward mobility’ because its too self-conscious, too prone to being heralded as something heroic or packaged as the big thing to do.

  2. Bev Murrill says:

    Courage … it takes different forms, doesn’t it. Sometimes, even though it feels so yucky, courage is walking away from a fight you’re not ready for yet, for the sake of those you already have responsibility for.

    That’s not meant as an out… it’s that David practiced in the wilderness before he faced the giant. I think that the call on your life is to fight … but He gently leads those who are with young… and your time is coming. The wilderness often takes longer than you’d think.

    • Stina KC says:

      Wow, thanks for this comment, it is very encouraging. Wilderness training is a helpful concept for me to think and pray over.

  3. Briana Meade says:

    I can totally relate to this. Both my husband and I worked in the inner city of Chicago for 2 years and the school I was at had a super low retention rate for teachers and drove them into the ground.

    My husband also put in long hours at his school, and we both felt called to teaching there for a time. After I had my daughter, the exhaustion of being the only adult in a classroom of 32 hispanic kids who needed 120% of my support took a toll on me, plus my daughter needed me at home (I couldn’t work 60 hours a week + take care of my baby daughter).

    The reality was different than the “vision.” Ultimately, we thought through the process of living in a high-crime neighborhood in Chicago where my husbands’ school was located. We tried to find a place within our means. We didn’t even have enough money from his teacher’s salary to live there! In addition to this there was rampant crime, and some really serious homicides/gun issues were right in the same neighborhood as we would have moved into (with a toddler and future baby in tow). How do you approach these issues (like the lead poisoning) when they are seriously impacting your own children–whom you also have a desire/responsibility to protect?

    What about the economic issues? We couldn’t even afford the lifestyle of living in a quote: “bad” neighborhood and ended up living for a time with my husband’s parents in the richest area of the North Shore of Chicago. We would have gone into debt over student loans, etc. to even afford rent with me staying at home. (Other teachers were single with no kids, and shared apartments)

    It wasn’t a viable option for our family for my husband to continue ministering/teaching in the inner city. Now we live in a safe, but diverse, area of North Carolina. I also have not “gotten to know” my Indian/Asian neighbors and harbor a lot of guilt, even though I am up to my neck in exhaustion dealing with just my toddler and my 4 month old baby. This really hit a nerve for me.
    Briana Meade (I write at brianameade.com)

    • Stina KC says:

      Hey Briana, I feel you. We actually tried moving back into our old neighborhood a few months ago but, like you, couldn’t find anything affordable (my husband is a full-time student, I am a stay-at-home mom). Ironic, right?

      We live in student housing now and, like you, have a diverse and safe environment — albeit, a more homogeneous socioeconomic reality. Writing this piece has forced me to sit with my questions and discomfort. It’s not a bad place to be… it may even be a “training ground” for another fight down the road, like Bev writes in the comment above. I also what Bev says here: “He gently leads those who are with young… and your time is coming.”

      • Caris Adel says:

        I used to absolutely, absolutely hate it when people would say to me, ‘you have young kids, this isn’t the season for xyz, just wait’. I didn’t think (still don’t, really) that having young kids is an excuse to just check out of what you’re passionate about. But….now that my youngest is 5.5 and I am out of the exhausting toddler years……….there might be some truth to that. It felt like lonely, pointless wilderness for so many years, but looking back, it was also a time of reading and learning and really exploring what I believed. So I don’t know that the time was wasted, even though it felt like it at the time. I don’t know if that is encouraging or not – I just wish I hadn’t felt so guilty for all those years I wasn’t ‘doing’ anything.

  4. Me too. I used to work at a high needs school and got moved to my suburban one. I call it the spa. I never want to leave. I don’t know what to do but lean in. Praying blessing for you today.

  5. alissabc says:

    This is such a relatable piece, Stina. I think there are so many of us who have been shocked by the way our reality isn’t matching the dream of “radical” living. I think being honest about our experiences like this is huge, though, because it exposes our tendency to define ourselves by our ability to live (or not live) a certain lifestyle, which has been a huge struggle for me the past few years. Thanks so much for your honesty here.

    • Stina KC says:

      Thanks Alissa. I loved your piece a few weeks ago and could identify with many of the struggles you named. You hit the nail on the head here: “it exposes our tendency to define ourselves by our ability to live (or not live) a certain lifestyle.” Yes and yes. I find that I am really good at contemplating the big “radical” choices: living in the inner-city! serving overseas among the poor! I am not so good at the little “radical” choices: talking to my neighbors, inviting them over for dinner, taking time to be present right where I am. It has to be a little of both, right?

  6. fiona lynne says:

    Stina, thank you so much for sharing this struggle. It’s never an easy one-direction path and it’s so hard to figure out what is the right thing to do, if there even is one right thing at all. I hope you’re able to leave the guilt behind though. As Bev so beautifully wrote above, maybe your time is still coming to take up the fight.

  7. David Moriah says:

    Stina, you stirred my heart, troubled my mind and brought tears to my eyes. Your gift for writing is obvious, as is your passion for living a life balancing love (for your child, for your neighbors, for the “least of these”) with justice. The choices that we who take on that burden must make are not easy, are not clearly prescribed by Bible verses, and often leave us second-guessing and feeling guilty. Sometimes we need to listen to that guilt for it can be an unpleasant but valuable gift which drives us to be better people, more faithful and obedient to the God of love and justice. Sometimes we need to turn the guilt over to Jesus so He can wash us in His grace and mercy. Thank you for sharing your story. I knew you as an infant and baby sat for you long ago. I’m awed by what a wise and deep woman you have become. May God richly bless you and your family, Stina.

  8. Sarah K-J says:

    Dear, Sweet Stina; I know this is a tender, personal subject, but I smile as I read the last 2 paragraphs of this post:

    “Now I panic that I am becoming one of those wishy-washy Christians I always belittled, their faiths flimsy and fearful. I worry that my faith is drifting, that if it isn’t radical and downwardly mobile it’s just ash in the wind. … Still, I return every Sunday to my old neighborhood for church. ”

    The answer to your fears, is right there! 🙂 You still go back. A person with less faith would not return. I think you showed pretty clearly that “downward mobility” is not just living in a struggling neighborhood; It’s really knowing and sharing life with people on life’s margins. You have shared in life in your old neighborhood, in a very real, scary way. Now, you’re sharing life in a new way, by returning every week and serving in the church. But, you’re still there. Still showing up. That’s faith, right?

    Love you. xoxo

  9. I found myself nodding along, and then encouraging my husband to read this as soon as I was done. So well written, Stina…so well lived. Thank you for your vulnerability, and I second Bev’s comment above: He gently leads those who are with young…and add to it that there are seasons. There are so many seasons in life. Seasons of fleeing. Seasons of fighting. But always a season of leaning in.

  10. Christina says:

    I’m with you. My context is slightly different. Instead of diversity in the US, we are in a non-diverse international place. We try to fit in, serve and bless the people who all are quite different than ourselves. Without my kids, it feels natural. But when we do it as a family or when I’m with my kids, there are so many more personal issues that I have to deal with rather than just contextual issues. I get asked a lot of questions (no big deal right, but it happens ALL the time). I’m still learning about loving people in the unanticipated moments (those moments that I’m playing ball with my son and someone demands answers from me about menial things instead of waiting on the side-lines) or how to show grace when I’m being criticized (happens daily). As a parent I want to protect my kids and as a believer I want to show them love. It’s not easy doing those things at the same time. I sometimes mess up. I apologized to someone the other day when she asked “how pregnant are you” in the midst of an important conversation with someone else. Instead of answering I kept talking. She kept asking and finally I looked at her and said, “I’m in the midst of a conversation.” Even after the apology, I was left wondering “how do I do life and show love all the time.” Maybe these seem like small things, but there are a lot of small things every day that challenge me in how to love better, move in the opposite spirit and show grace. I’m not there yet. I enjoyed your piece and trust that the relationships you are investing in now will be meaningful. Exciting to think what he has ahead of you and hopefully to again hear how you walk through the challenging seasons of life. Parenthood is definitely one of them.

  11. Kristi says:

    Beautifully written and deeply felt. Stina, I relate to this a lot. For me, it’s been humbling to be a less spiritually extreme Christian (“wishy-washy”) now that I’m a mother . . . and it often feels like a wilderness experience . . . but what Jesus wants is for me to be faithful to his call, not to be an extreme (i.e. impressive) Christian. There can be a difference. Maybe this experience has helped you to understand that just because Christians live in the suburbs (for example) they are not necessarily “wishy-washy.” You would probably look at me in my circumstances (without knowing anything about my heart or faith) and think I’m wishy-washy without knowing how Jesus has led me here. Or maybe you wouldn’t judge me? Yes, humbling.

    And I agree with the comment above that he gently leads those who are with young. You’ve probably heard this before, but right now your first God-ordained responsibility is to your family.

    And again, it’s humbling to realize your own weakness (here, that you couldn’t take care of your family AND fight the landlord etc.) but in our weakness he is able to work through us much more than in our youthful enthusiasm (reminds me of Oswald Chambers writing about how it’s broken bread and crushed grapes that are the Body of Christ to others). It sounds to me that he is growing you . . . downward mobility, pride edition — so crucial to being His. It’ll be exciting to see where/how he leads you. Thank you so much for sharing your pain over what looks like a failure but to me seems like your doing the best you could with what you have — and we can trust him to be glorified in that.

    • Stina KC says:

      “Downward mobility, pride edition” — I like that. Thanks for the comment Krisiti.

    • Thank you Stina for your honesty. Obviously this is a place that many of us who grew up comfortably and feel a call to live differently are wrestling with, Ann and I included.

      I certainly have not arrived or figured it out, but there is one very prevalent middle-class Christian myth that really bugs me which we use to often excuse our lack of obedience to Christ and is reproduced above: “your first God-ordained responsibility is to your family.” Now that we have a child I have been wrestling with this one the same way you show you are, but as I look through especially Jesus’ teaching and that of the apostles it is clear that we are called to put our identity in Christ above all else, including our blood relations. The church is our family. Nowhere does the Bible teach “take care of your spouse, children, and parents first and then serve your fellow believers.”

      However, our church today has been so influenced by the individualism of our society that we understand the church simply to be an atomistic conglomerate of people who get together every once in a while because we share a common narrative of personal salvation through Jesus. Our church just becomes one of our identities among many and takes no precedence over the others. This leaves room for us to put our kids or our spouse before our church.

      I happen to be reading a great book right now that addresses this very thing, so I’ll let the authors talk (check out the whole thing, “This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith”):
      to quote Vincent Bacote (remember him?), “United with an atomistic conception of the church, there is little impulse to view the church as a corporate entity or community whose identity supersedes and even constitutes primarily the identity of the individual members. Practically speaking then, such atomistic conglomerates play little if any role in shaping the identity of church members, and fail to place demands on them. One way this may work out is that individual identity is primary and corporate identity is peripheral and embraced when convenient.”
      David Pao concludes, “our focus on ‘family values’ has turned Christianity on its head. Instead of seeing the historical and the contemporary church as our ‘family,’ we consider our nuclear family as the primary locus in which our Christian faith can be expressed. In doing so, the prophetic voice of the church is subsumed under our desire to create a ‘church’ that will address our needs and fulfill our desires.”

      These authors along with Jesus’ teaching on family have challenged me to rethink whether I am too willing to put my blood relatives on a pedestal above my true family, that is the Body of Christ. Situations like yours are exactly when these two loyalties come into conflict and I honestly have no idea what I would have done, nor do I judge you for making a “right” or “wrong” decision. I also agree with many of these comments that there are different seasons in life, but in the place where you and I come from we have to be wary of the flood of Christian voices who want to encourage you to always choose to take the easy way because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable themselves.

      I agree with Kristi that that being “faithful to his call” is our ultimate purpose, but what we are wrestling with here is, what does that mean? What is that call? If we are not living in a distinctive way that stands out in the world how are we being faithful to that calling? How do we remain totally obedient to Christ and totally identified with his church while responsibly caring for our children? I wonder if it would be easier to make those hard decisions if our church really lived out its call to be the church. If our whole church saw all the children as our children and sought to love and serve them together, then we wouldn’t be so alone when faced with these dilemmas and maybe we would be better equipped to face the challenge together.

      Sorry for the long comment but when Ann showed me this we happened to have just been thinking and talking about the same thing since we find ourselves in a similar place. Keep fighting. Looks like you could start a “downward mobility dropout” support group with all these responses. I would join.

      Saludos a Josh

      • Stina KC says:

        Wow, Drew, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I didn’t know Dr. Bacote had written a new book, I will check that out.

        I agree with so many of your statements here. It makes me think about the importance of community in the conversation of downward mobility… like you said, “if our whole church saw all the children as our children and sought to love and serve them together, then we wouldn’t be so alone when faced with these dilemmas and maybe we would be better equipped to face the challenge together.” Yes, yes, yes. It makes sense that many people who are able to live a downwardly mobile lifestyle for the long haul often join groups like InnerChange or intentional communities like The Simple Way.

        Blessings to you and Ann and your new baby.

  12. Lance Jarvis says:

    Hi Stina, My wife and I spent some months with Josh in Caracus Venezuela 2005. Wow I can relate to what you are talking about.. The tension between the ideal and the lived reality especially with children. We returned to Australia determined to return to the developing world but it meant I returned to study which was when we had our two children. I felt we would never fulfill our dream as a bounced from one Public Health job to another but never being ready to go overseas because of the children. Last year we eventually made it when we moved to Timor Leste 7 years after InnerChange experience in 2005. All the same we are here and the tensions remain. Yes we live in a Timorese community, we try to reach out to our neighbors BUT we are still very privileged foreigners with many choices beyond our neighbors. I encounter oceans of need every day in my job with critically sick and malnourished children and feel a whole ton of emotions especially around my faith and how we are called to respond. I have found many great insights from Richard Rohr in particular that are helpful but I don’t think the dilemmas get any easier.
    Thanks for your post Stina and give Josh a big hug from me. Peace out, Lance Jarvis

    • Stina KC says:

      Hey Lance, thanks for the comment. It’s all so messy, isn’t it? I will have to revisit Richard Rohr… any books in particular you recommend? (P.S. Josh says hi)

      • Lance Jarvis says:

        Hi Stina,
        Everything belongs by Richard Rohr is a book I still re-read but I get a lot out some of his talks like his one on the Themes of Scripture and Paul and my favorites True self/False self and the Enneagram. I think a lot of the stuff we tie ourselves up with is our stuff not always God’s stuff and that is okay. Thankfully God is an infinitely patient parent and has all the time in the world. Precisely when we are broken is the greatest opportunity for transforming Grace/God/Love; God of the gaps. Without Love we are nothing and I don’t think Paul was talking about our attempts at Love. Enjoy the sharing of a fellow journeyer on the road of Faith. Peace to you and Josh and your daughter.

  13. I loved your line about putting in the work of mutual relationships with you neighbors; very, very insightful And it made me think of this: http://vimeo.com/60349898

    • Stina KC says:

      Thanks for the link Krispin. True mutual relationships with people living in poverty is something I’d love to see explored more in this downward mobility series… I have a lot to learn. I liked the way you talked about approaching those relationships as cross-cultural in your piece.

  14. oh my lord – the is so real and honest. i have been there. i am there.

  15. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this.

  16. kcvearner says:

    I can very much relate to this. “Now I panic that I am becoming one of those wishy-washy Christians I always belittled, their faiths flimsy and fearful.” May I always stay in adventureous mode and work to remove the plank in my own eyes.

  17. lapekrul says:

    I’m a development worker in Nicaragua with three young boys. They were at a pool today and my wife and I realized that they were the only kids their age that had a hard time swimming.

    We don’t own a car, and the old house we bought as a way of putting down roots has kept us so busy for the last year we hardly ever have energy to leave. I don’t know when we’ll have the time or the energy to teach them to swim.

    We always worry about things like education, but it isn’t so immediate. This was one of the first times I had a pang, not of guilt maybe, but of sadness. My kids will probably miss out on some good things.

    It was nice to read about someone else processing the same sorts of things.

    • Stina KC says:

      Yes, if there is anything that this post has taught me, it’s that many people are struggling with this. I think it’s helpful to remember all the things your kids are gaining, too, by the choices your family has made. Blessings.

  18. Bronwyn says:

    Whew. You unwrapped something brave and beautiful here. It is one thing to take up our cross and follow Jesus, but totally another (I think) to look upon our babies and feel that we are laying the burdens of our discipleship on them. We want them to be disciples too, but when and how and where to sacrifice is so hard to figure out. I believe He gives us grace. I believe He loves where your heart is at. I’m with you and for you, sister.

  19. Lauren Rea Preston says:

    This hits so close to home. Lead, preschool, all the questions about whether I’m doing right by my kids in so many levels. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Thank you for writing this vulnerable piece. I relate to so much of it. We moved away from an inner city area when our second child was just a few weeks old. We knew, deep down, that God was calling us elsewhere for a season but voices of doubt and pangs of guilt would come and accuse me of “selling out”. I think it’s so right to view life in seasons. I’m sure one day we’ll live and work amongst the poor again. We’ve tried to grow in our values so that we have a “transferable life” ie wherever we’re called on to next we’re ready because we’ve lived the way God has called us to live regardless of circumstances. Thank you for writing -I’m sure you have encouraged many.

    • Bev Murrill says:

      I agree with Anna… the devil doesn’t care if you fall over forward or backward, as long as you fall. In this case… false guilt/condemnation is the thing that wants to work when actually it’s God moving people on. Just because the new season isnt’ as gruelling as the last one, we can feel as though we’re selling out, when actually, it’s God at work.

      Sometimes we can fall foul of our own good intentions. Prov 3:5,6 is the thing here… lean not to your own understanding but acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths, even into something less pressured (for a while).

    • Stina KC says:

      Thanks for the comment Anna!

  21. […] This guest post by Stina KC over at DL Mayfield’s blog was the bravest and truest thing I have read in a long time: “I’m a downward mobility dropout”. […]

  22. michaboyett says:

    So grateful for all these comments, Stina. They’re here because you’re speaking to so many of us who have second guessed our choices made on behalf of our kids (not the other kids Jesus also loves.) I’m a city dweller who recently managed to pull my kid out of the crummy public school he was in and into a really great public school. It’s so hard to make those choices, because it does mean, in a sense, that you’re leaving all those other kids behind. I pray that even in the places where we feel like a failures of justice, God is honored by our struggles. Thanks for this.

  23. How’s your daughter doing now?

    • Stina KC says:

      Hey Aaron, thanks for asking. She is doing great. From what I understand, lead exposure is most dangerous when it’s present over long periods of a child’s development. Thankfully, she isn’t in that environment anymore so her lead levels are low and she is thriving.

  24. Courtney says:

    Oh this…this. I don’t have anything to add. Just that I’m grateful this story is still unfinished. Because my story towards downward mobility is still unfinished. And it still sounds like failure sometimes in my ears.

  25. Becky says:

    Thanks so much for sharing such honest writing. Pretty much all that I could say about how the piece resonates is already covered above. For those of you in the trenches with lead-vulnerable populations, I thought you’d like to see the Johns Hopkins study below about potentially reversing the effects of lead poisoning. It really highlights why poverty and the worst effects of lead poisoning often go together.


    • Harrisco says:

      Lead exposure is a significant issue. I encourage families with young children to make sure their home and preschool environments are lead-safe. Any building, whether in a high-income or a low-income area, may have lead paint, if the building was built before 1978. It is important to ask the right questions. Contact National Center for Healthy Housing to learn more.

  26. […] friend Stina (hey, remember her? She blew up the internets with her “I’m a Downward Mobility Dropout” post) asked me if she could interview some friends of hers. I said yes, of course (and I would love […]

  27. […] third link is to a new favorite blog written by D.L. Mayfield (with guest poster, Stina). Her writing is deep, intense, and […]

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