There are a lot of challenges within families, and this last week has really shed some light for me in terms of what parents and families are really dealing with in terms of fighting for their kids.
In my role as a community youth person/advocate, I try to work with young people as much as I can, but it is hard. It’s hard because I can work with the young people just fine, but I have challenges when it comes to dealing with their families, and the larger societal issues that these young people need to face on daily basis. It is no longer enough for me to look at youth work in isolation…we must expand our perspectives to include the families, AND the parents…because only in working together can we truly affect change within the Aboriginal Youth, and the North End communities.
What do I know (really) about parenting? Technically nothing. I don't have any children of my own. But I know that I love the young people I work with and I am frustrated at standing by and watching as they spiral farther and farther into their shit, while society and the people that are supposed to be there acting as support fail. I know that I will continue to try and fight these large societal complicated issues because our young people deserve it. Because i know what it is like to exist within those systems and to feel helpless, and lost, and uncertain of what to do next because of a rift between you, and your parent/family.
So, my social networks have really made this my problem. The people that I interact with, and follow on Twitter have been bringing this issue forward. I don’t know why it has been happening so much recently, but it is now my responsibility to respond honestly. One of the parents I spoke with was explaining to me that as a parent she felt left behind by the justice system. She felt like police stopped taking her and other parents of missing teens seriously and they felt like the justice system was trying to affect change without including the parents in the process.
‘I need our justice system to be on our side and to have justice hear us! See us parents as part of the solution’
We can work with our parents and families and ensure that these people are supported so that our families can be brought together. Too many times our parents can only get the co$tly help that they need if they give up their children to become wards of the state. It was said very well this week byProvincial MLA and Liberal Party of Manitoba Leader, Dr. Jon Gerard(@DrJonGerard). He called out the premier and sad that the record of youngpeople in the child welfare system asatrocious and demanded some action on it. I agree! Let’s ALL START PUTTINGPRESSURE on our MLAs and politicians so they know that we will not take it anymore. We will not allow our families to be politicized into submission any longer. NO!
Many young people just want to get out of the shit (crappy socio-economic-status, poverty, violence, intergenerational effects, involvement in the crappy justice system etc.). and as such, when they turn 18, they want to move out on their own. There is often not support at home for them to do this. I was working with a young person this week trying to go on welfare and get a place to stay because he has been so challenged in getting a job. He is frustrated and is trying to make it on his own, but now because of lack of ID, and a job, and a solid place to stay, he is stuck. This is bullshit, and short of me taking time from my job to drive him around to get all of the details, the guarantor forms, the reference letters, the additional money to apply and all of that jazz, its gonna be an uphill battle for him. This all must happen BEFORE he is allowed to make his 2nd appointment with welfare.
THIS IS BULLSHIT
This is bullshit because why on earth should he have to go on welfare?!! Why aren’t there the supports within our community so our young people can get their Identification, make good decisions and become truly independent. These systems, justice, social services, child welfare, health are doing so badly. I wish there was some way that the government could listen to us, listen to the front line workers and the youth and families directly!!!!!!
It will come soon. Stand with me. Fight with me.
PS– so, Rick Mercer did an amazing Rant this week talking about teen suicide and the importance of role models. He was talking specifically about gay adults needing to come out of the closet and be that role model right now. I have suchrespect for rick mercer and have a dream of some day being able to meet him,and perhaps do a rant with him!! Great Job, Rick, we are so lucky in Canada to have a television personality who is as intelligent, and as real as you. Word.