March 3rd, 2006
Many of you may not be aware about one of my biggest passions in life. It’s not very easy to put into one sentence, but it involves youth/teenagers, responsibility, support and independence. In other words, I get really excited when I meet a kid who comes from a shitty background, foster care, group homes etc., yet is hopeful for his/her future and takes responsibility for it. He/she has plans and ideas and is working towards shaping their future in a positive way instead of blaming their family or society for their problems and acting like they’re owed something. They make use of the programs put in place by our government to support and help them get on their feet and make a life for themselves in this big crazy world. I am 100% behind those programs being made available to these youth, but I’m 150% behind the kids that actually make use of them without abusing them.
When I meet this sort of youth, I want to be a part of their life. I want to support them in any way I can, encourage them and root for their success. I want to be someone they can turn to when they need a friend to talk to or are having a bad day.
One such person is Eric, who I have mentioned in here a few times before. He is an amazing kid. He’s almost 19 now and out of high school, living in his own apartment, working in a department store, and going to school two nights/week. He is finishing the courses he needs to get into the program he wants, and then he’ll go to the University of Lethbridge to get his final degree. He has it all planned out. In his “spare time” he also volunteers with the Youth in Care program and is an all-out activist for Youth in Care. He is AWESOME and such an amazing example of life after Foster Care.
Today I decided to sponsor a youth through the Youth Possibilities Program so he/she can attend a talk next Friday presented by the IPRA. They are trying to find sponsors to send 13 youth and 3 facilitators to see Senator Romeo Dallaire speak at the University.
When I read in my email request:
The Youth Possibilities Project of the Centre for Newcomers is a 6 month employment training program for immigrant & minority youth between the ages of 16 - 25. Most of the youth in this session are refugees that have been affected by war in countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan. It is not unfamiliar to our youth from El Salvador & Lebanon as well. As part of their training to either find gainful employment or go back to school, our youth commit to a community service project. This session our group chose to do forum theatre in conjunction with All Nations Theatre Society where they brought to light issues related to being an immigrant youth in Canada. I think it would be amazing for them to see Lt. Gen Dallaire speak. I hope you do consider this request.
I knew I wanted to help, but I also knew I needed to call someone. AH has a 22 year old nephew that lives at his house who is having trouble finding/keeping a job. I read a little more about this YPP program, and immediately called AH and asked “your nephew is unemployed, right?” and he said “yeah… always…” “Well, I found something he may qualify for” and told him about it. He said “yeah, he’s in that already, and he’s going to quit, he doesn’t like it…”
Oh man. AH needed to quickly hang up as he was about to get a client, so I am sitting here FUMING and wanting to wring a certain someone’s nephew’s little scrawny wimpy Middle Eastern neck.
Eric is working his ass off for $7.50 an hour at a department store and going to school and making something of his life. He has no family to fall back on (Dad is a child molester dickhead, mom is on welfare with two little ones and can’t take care of him). This YPP program, our government, our tax dollars, my money, pays AH’s nephew $7.50 an hour to learn how to find and keep a job and he’s not even trying?!? This kid (well, man actually) lives in AH’s house, because in his culture, family looks out for each other no matter what. When AH and his wife split up, she moved out of his house (back to her parents of course, where two other divorced sisters also reside) and his sister, brother and nephew moved in (mom was already there). You don’t charge family anything for rent. You live at home until you are married, and then go back home if the marriage doesn’t work (AH owns his own house though, so they all just moved in with him hehe).
So this nephew, at 22, is living for free off his dad and Uncle AH. I know for a fact that AH helps him out with all kinds of stuff and takes him places and gives him unlimited access to his computer which AH may just end up giving to him when he gets a new one. He will never be expected to pay rent and will be able to live with his family forever if he wants/needs to.
Okay, you know, I have tried to understand and respect AH’s culture and values. It is very different from mine, and just because I am not used to it, does not make it wrong. It is “their way” and if we are going to be friends, I need to keep my opinions to myself, have an open mind and respect these differences. But not in my own freakin’ BLOG I don’t!! That is BULLSHIT!! How is that nephew ever going to learn to be responsible and independent? What the hell reason does he need to get a job, if no matter what, family is going to take care of him?? Where does he get off abusing our Government’s money in programs designed to help him get on his feet? (Okay, that is a whole other can of worms that we won’t open here). If he was my nephew he would have one month to find a job and start paying me room and board or he would be out on his ass.
My sponsorship sure as hell better not be going to AH’s nephew.