Harvard professor Robert Putnam wanted to make sure the audience at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science knew one thing: poor youths in America feel alone.

Highlighting the gap between rich kids and poor kids in America, Putnam discussed how this disparity exists because of factors beyond a child’s control, such as their parent’s educational level or what neighborhood they live in.

The American dream is in crisis, Putnam argued, because a child’s future is no longer solely dependent on their individual capabilities but on their parents’ and grandparents’ financial and academic successes (or lack thereof).

This can lead to children not having the same resources and support as richer peers, which leaves them unprepared and distrusting.

The author of more than a dozen books spoke about his latest work, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” Wednesday evening at an event hosted by The Denver Foundation.