NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday October 23rd 2018

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“A reality in today’s times”…

STEP-UP youth working with the Cultural Wellness Center and the Backyard Initiative learned about cultural self-study, cultural leadership development, and cultural financial literacy. Below are some of the direct quotes from this discussion towards the end of their summer tenure on economics/money and working as teens. The youth preferred not to have individual identities shared but wanted their quotes to be shared.

“The saying is, if you don’t work you don’t eat, but not only, you don’t eat, you have no place to stay, no clothes on your back, or money in your pocket either, a reality in today’s time, look at the number of homeless people along Hiawatha. Has anyone taken the time to look at those standing at intersections or stop lights needing hand-outs for the necessities, and in spite of what people believe, it is not all about being lazy, for alcohol or drugs, some have real needs. Money makes the world go round and covers essential needs in life, housing, food, and clothing. Our contribution as a teen is less when it comes to providing the necessities, but increases with age, and the sad reality is, most parents do not have the luxury of providing all the needs and I am not talking any of desires in their children in today’s times, we have to work. I am grateful for employment opportunity here through the Wellness Center, the Backyard, agriculture, reThink your Drink, Slow-Roll, customer service and community engage and as a teen, it was great even though I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. My first week I would do what I had to do even if it is not my desire to work and there are a million other things that I would rather being doing in my young years, and being angry that we are living in times where it is necessity even though I am young.”

“Money or economics places you in a position, the ‘Haves, and Have Nots’, or ‘Impoverished or Poor, Middle-Class, Upper Middle-Class, or Financially Secure-or Rich’. A reality of past and today’s times is the rich needs the poor to stay poor so they can stay financially secure or rich, truth or lie, it is what we believe, especially those that fall into the lower brackets economically. It seems as though the odds are stacked against the poor, no matter how much you scratch or claw to get to the top you never get up or out, education cost or the lack thereof pulls you back down, racism or racial disparities keeps the foot on your neck and back, assumptions and categories continue to create separation out of fear, a sense of hopelessness and defeat, I could go on and on. The circumstances and situations are like crabs in a tank, you get so far up and before you know you are pulled back down to the bottom, or the glass ceiling, you go up so high and then your head bumps that ceiling that you didn’t know existed until you can’t go any further. I will not give in, I must be determined and I refuse to be limited because I have been categorized, hindered in my climb, or succumb to emotional road-blocks if I am to change the outcome, and I really believe I can change my outcome, that is what motivation, determination, and faith is called. I am grateful for the opportunities to study myself, to see through a different lens, to follow my head, and harness my mind, working here has nourished my determination and motivation.”

“Working, it is a necessity in life to earn a living, but that need doesn’t make it easy or desired, especially as a young person. When you are young you have so many other things you really want to do other than working, and balancing your needs in this economy with low economic wages, limited opportunities, not by choice but a society that has de-valued people of color. Young people have to work because most parents’ income is not such that affords their youth the luxury to place wants and desires over necessities. The reality in today’s time, youth and young adults have to place need over desire, and that is what I did when I took my first job. Working for the first time was a huge decision and a balancing act. It also seems so unfair since you will work much-much longer than you will be a pre-teen, teen, or even a young adult, but who said needs and fairness go hand in hand. You having a need to work doesn’t make it any less scary or doesn’t calm the nerves or the butterflies in your stomach, but I much say that I am grateful that my first job was in an environment such as the Cultural Wellness Center and in the Backyard. The job was more of change in my outlook and attitude, as I studied myself, developed leadership, communication, and job skills, and went through career mapping, I can chart my own life course and fate, and obstacle is not meant to stop you, it is meant to propel you forward, give you greater motivation and determination.”

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