READING, Pa. - If you ask people what's wrong in Berks County, they'll point to how there's so much poverty in Reading. But instead of focusing on what's wrong, we're focusing on what's right in Berks County. And in this case, poverty can inspire.
Beatrice Marinescu works at a bank in Reading, but hardly keeps banker hours.
"You have to have fun with what you do or it'll take forever to get it done," explained Marinescu, as she drove to her next job.
The 29-year-old just finished up at the bank and is off to work at a big box store.
"Since high school, I started working, and I paid everything on my own," said Marinescu.
She's been working at the box store since she was 18, and she knows many of her customers.
"You know how I work," she said to someone paying. "Nonstop."
Marinescu said there's a reason she works so hard.
"I grew up poor," said Marinescu. "I grew up with nothing. So, I didn't want to end up having the same life."
Marinescu moved to Reading when she was a kid in 1991. She was born in Romania and spoke no English. She said she was surrounded by Latinos while growing up in Reading.
"So, I picked up Spanish before I learned English, but now I translate wherever I go. It pays off," said Marinescu.
The trilingual woman uses her love of words as a poet. She wrote a collection of poems entitled, "The Tears That I Cried."
In her book, a stanza from a poem, "Living in Poverty:"
"Living in poverty makes you see life differently
You think of how you want to do your best
All you want is to reach success"
But Marinescu realizes not everyone living in poverty has the same ambition.
"It's either going to make you or kill you. I'm not saying that I made it, but I fight everyday to be a better person, to accomplish what I accomplish," said Marinescu. "I don't let anyone stand in my way."
She started her own business with a web site, Rose Metal Cards.
"This is what I get from a lot of people they're like, 'Wow. It's like you reached inside my soul and took my story,'" said Marinescu about reaction to her cards.
Rose Metal Cards is a line of greeting cards that mix her poetry with artwork. Each card has a poem, Marinescu wrote. One stanza from one poem reads:
"Do your best in all you do
show it to the world that you are you"
Poverty is learning to live without, but that's not an option for Marinescu. She's working hard to make her American dream come true.
Allentown, PA 18102