I'm not a fan of public assistance. More times than not it makes a bad situation worse. Sometimes it does something good, like in the case of the Mingo family.
Mary Mingo was a truck-stop waitress, known for working a lot of double shifts. Her husband had left her with 8 kids and one on the way. Mary died delivering her last baby. Because of her low income Mrs. Mingo was raising her kids in public housing. At the time of her death in 1980 Mary's 9 children were aged 19 to newborn.
The children decided to stay together. That's right all 9 of them. All together, in the same house. More amazingly, they managed to get away with it. More amazingly awesome than that eight of the kids turned out great. By great what I mean one is an artist, two shop owners, an attorney, a contractor, two college students and a former professional boxer who was a one-time Olympic hopeful. The youngest boy got into drugs and is serving time, but his brothers and sisters still love him and want him to become part of their life when he gets out.
35 years later: The children who raised themselves is a story worth 5 min of your time to read. Mary Mingo managed to instill the values of hard work and sacrifice in her children. Even though she wasn't able to see the job through to the end, she did a good enough job at the beginning to carry on for another generation and counting.
A special shout out to the oldest daughter Kayle Mingo, who as the oldest gave up the most. Instead of enjoying the pleasures of young adulthood, she changed diapers, cooked and cleaned and raised her mothers children. It seems she did a good job of it too.