A Change For Our Chil­dren?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

Anne Zeus

To­day I had the bit­ter­sweet priv­i­lege to at­tend a fu­neral for a 14 year old boy struck with can­cer. I say bit­ter­sweet be­cause it was a very sad day for many and yet we can be thank­ful he is out of pain. This young man touched the hearts of many, al­ways with a bright smile on his face. Yet how many of th­ese folks ac­tu­ally know how much trou­ble he caused his mom? How many know of the pain and hurt she went through try­ing to raise him? He had been in and out of trou­ble with as­sis­tance from “the sys­tem” to try to straighten him out.

You might be say­ing, “This is no one’s prob­lem but hers”. That could be true; how­ever, I beg to dif­fer. As part of a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion aimed at bring­ing skills to chil­dren (and adults) that can be used through­out life, I find it dif­fi­cult to watch chil­dren “fall into the cracks”. Ad­mit­tedly, many of my friends will say I am soft­hearted, yet no one can deny I put chil­dren sec­ond only to God. I con­sis­tently will say “Chil­dren are in­no­cent lives that didn’t ask to be brought into this world. We need to treat them as such.” Is this what we do? Our cul­ture seems to pro­mote young peo­ple be­ing “old” be­fore their time. Lost are the days of in­no­cence.

I can­not help but won­der: if non-prof­its, NGOs, and other agen­cies re­ceived fund­ing from all sec­tors – pri­vate, cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment – how much dif­fer­ent could the world and the next gen­er­a­tion be? We see do­na­tions be­ing made for many groups, but where are the funds go­ing? What ac­count­abil­ity is there? Re­cently, a large cor­po­ra­tion made a do­na­tion in the area of $15,000 to spon­sor an up­com­ing “party” event. How­ever, a char­i­ta­ble trust ap­proached the same peo­ple to support their ef­forts in pro­vid­ing sport­ing and de­vel­op­men­tal ser­vices to other gov­ern­ment agen­cies; this re­quest was de­nied. Gov­ern­ment min­istries are say­ing there are no funds avail­able for de­vel­op­ing youth pro­grammes that will help pro­vide vi­able means later in life. Yet, we hear them in­vest­ing more money in Car­ni­val.

Where have our pri­or­i­ties gone? Is it that gov­ern­ment and large cor­po­ra­tions are only in­ter­ested in the “chicken and rum” at­ti­tude for which St. Lu­cians are known so well? Why do we make such a fuss that a young per­son is caught purse snatch­ing if we aren’t will­ing to invest in means to keep them out of trou­ble?

I am chal­leng­ing the gov­ern­ment, the cor­po­rate world, and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als to take no­tice as to what is hap­pen­ing in our small na­tion. Take note we spend more money on en­tic­ing folks to en­joy fetes, shows and drink rum than we do on try­ing to build up the next gen­er­a­tion and en­cour­age the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion that there can be other things ben­e­fi­cial. Do we re­ally need more tragedy? Or can we start de­vel­op­ing skills for a bet­ter so­ci­ety?

If you are will­ing to step up to help make a change, then let’s work to­gether to cre­ate a fu­ture for our chil­dren. Re­ply to Anne Zeus at Anne.Zeus@ya­hoo.com

After he was ap­pre­hended, quite a spec­ta­cle was made of a young man who had run off with a woman’s purse

out­side Mega J this week. But as a so­ci­ety, what are we do­ing to save our young peo­ple who are tee­ter­ing on the

brink of de­struc­tion?

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