Since the spring we have been helping out at our local youth shelter. This weekly outreach has culminated into a once week baking class I put on with teenagers and young adults staying, or dropping in at the downtown shelter. The initial rational for helping out at the shelter was to add, in addition to our street outreach, a more pro-active and preventative support mechanism to battle with substance abuse. The experiences thus far have been nothing short than amazing, I have made many friends with both staff and clients, been able to provide positive role modelling, as well support (emotional, tangible, informative, and network support)- and of course we have baked many sweet and tasty delicacies. There are many drawbacks however still and what we are seeing about drug problems with marginalized youth does hurt to see. I need to point out the following:
- Drug use is prevalent among disenfranchised youth, the category of drugs include opiates,cocaine, crack, and meth (not an exhaustive list). Drugs exacerbate the situation and get in the way of youth obtaining otherwise available services. In other words a young person on drugs is less likely to have access to services, be provided access and of course have motivation to obtain services.
- The police and criminal justice system seems to be more a nuisance in the lives of these young people rather than provide any positive influence.
- Drug and street culture serves to polarize vulnerable youth from people and services who otherwise may be willing to help them out.
- Too many of these young ones are on prescription meds. It is amazing that in todays day and age service providers could potentially refuse services, or offer strict penalties for pot, yet at the same time happily dispense much more powerful ‘psychotropic’ meds. I am not saying all meds are bad, but there needs to be an objective stricter review of what is exactly going on with them in young populations.
- Regardless of the above stated realities there does remain a safe place in my downtown area that provides shelter, food, and services as well caring staff. And yes even where you can do some baking with yours truly.
We are Addictnomore. Frontline engaged in the battle against drug addiction.
Leave you off with MATTHEW 20:16 “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Some pics as well,