True spirit of Christ­mas

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

WITH Christ­mas around the cor­ner, many of us will start preparing to wel­come this spe­cial sea­son, buy­ing dec­o­ra­tions, Christ­mas trees and food to cel­e­brate with our loved ones. It is easy to get caught up in the silly sea­son, but it is im­por­tant that we do not forget those less for­tu­nate in the process. Christ­mas is a very lonely time of the year for some young peo­ple. It can in­crease feel­ings of sad­ness and so­cial iso­la­tion amongst dis­af­fected youth who lack a sense of be­long­ing. Most of­ten, th­ese young peo­ple will turn to al­co­hol and other drugs to min­imise th­ese neg­a­tive feel­ings. Sub­stance abuse has a big im­pact on the user, their fam­i­lies and so­ci­ety. It is re­spon­si­ble for in­creas­ing home­less­ness, men­tal ill­ness, fam­ily break­downs and thoughts of sui­cide or self-harm amongst young peo­ple. For home­less youth, Christ­mas is a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult time be­cause it re­minds them of what they don’t have. We try to make con­tact with th­ese young peo­ple through our Street Walk pro­gram in the hopes of pro­vid­ing them with a safe place to stay. Christ­mas at a refuge is still a lonely ex­pe­ri­ence, but they are with peo­ple in the same sit­u­a­tion. As a com­mu­nity we need to join to­gether to com­bat th­ese is­sues and en­sure that young peo­ple are pro­vided with ad­e­quate sup­port. Christ­mas is a good start­ing point for ev­ery­one to get in­volved in the com­mu­nity and give back to those in need. This Christ­mas, I en­cour­age ev­ery­one to con­sider vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple by do­nat­ing or vol­un­teer­ing with a char­ity that helps the less for­tu­nate. Christ­mas is a very lonely and sad time for those strug­gling with home­less- ness, men­tal ill­ness and so­cial iso­la­tion. To­gether, we can help cre­ate a

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