Due to the high cost of living in Orange County, many working families are pushed into poverty. Contrary to its reputation as the land of beaches, tourism, and vast wealth, many Orange County residents face a multitude of barriers to economic stability – made evident by the fact that 16.9% of the county’s children are living below the poverty line. For some, poverty is just one layoff, medical bill, divorce, or accident away; this is situational poverty. For others, poverty is a cyclical reality that generations of families struggle to escape; this is generational poverty. Those caught in the cycle of generational poverty are often forced to solely focus on survival: getting enough food on the table tomorrow, paying this month’s rent on time. Children of these families have rarely seen a family member advance at a job, or benefit from education. For families in generational poverty, planning for a better life is difficult, especially since changing one’s circumstances requires control and resources. Breaking the cycle of generational poverty and overcoming situational poverty requires both immediate access to services that assist families in areas impacting their daily lives, and programs that affect the long-term outcomes of a family’s circumstances – both of which Friendly Center provides through its 20+ free programs for children and families.