top 4

Our forum was yesterday and it went great! Lots of youth talking about real issues. One of the best parts of all of this, for me at least, was it validated a long standing claim of mine ‘youth are capable of a lot more than most adults give them credit for.’ The youth really came through and showed that they are intelligent and passionate people even if they are young.

We had 12 major topics to talk about and continuing on with what I last wrote poverty and homelessness were the 3rd and 4th most important topics at the forum. Alcohol and drugs were the most important, which didn’t surprise me at all. Being a rural area there isn’t a lot to do and boredom leads a lot of young people to substance abuse.

But back to homelessness and poverty. It was so interesting to see the look on the face all the adults who were a part of the afternoon (we separated the youth and adults for the morning. The adults learned about youth engagement and the 40 Developmental Assets while the youth had small group discussions about topics that they were interested in) when they found out that poverty and homelessness were major issues. I bet not one of the adults there would have even put poverty and homelessness in the top 10 if they were ranking them.

Through all the discussions I heard while I floated around all day and the response we got from the adults one theme kept coming through, we need to build awareness around youth poverty and homelessness in all places not just major city centers.

With that in mind I’m starting here and moving outward. If you didn’t know before now you do. Poverty is a major issue facing youth as is homelessness. We as Christians and people how love youth cannot ignore this issue. Help me spread awareness because no one with the means to help will fix a problem they don’t know exists.

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~ by Philip on October 17, 2008.

One Response to “top 4”

  1. I have experienced the misery of homelessness at several points in my life and, although there is a certain sense of freedom to it, it is a dangerous and miserable lifestyle that is hard to rise out of.
    Contrary to popular belief, most homeless did not become so out of choice. Most did not become homeless because they are lazy, stupid, or immoral. Many homeless people are victims of abuse in the form of neglect and abandonment by their parents or other caregivers. Like many victims of abuse, a lot of them have chemical dependency problems. Their existence is so miserable that they use alcohol or other drugs as an escape. Some of them are simply victims of life’s tragedies, such as hurricanes, fires, or other catastrophes from which they simply don’t have the resources to recover.
    Also, there is a snowball effect that occurs with homelessness. After all, who is going to hire someone with no address? Most homeless people don’t have the resources to even do their laundry; who is going to hire someone in filthy clothes? Also once a person has fallen to the level of living on the streets it is very difficult for them to get a job even if they are capable of working, because the condition of homelessness creates a low sense of self-esteem which makes it difficult to relate to other people. It is difficult to find, much less keep a job once a person’s self-esteem is so badly damaged.
    I invite you to my website: http://www.FreetheGods.com. There you will find pictures I have taken of homeless people. I always give them a dollar or two for the privilege of photographing them. Usually, I am surprised by their cheerfulness and sense of pride. Often, they will show themselves to have some kind of talent. There is a fine line between genius and insanity.
    David Settino Scott, III

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