I’m 18 (Eighteen) Today!

DSC00001   Yes, I am 18 today.  In 1996, on February 13th, I walked through the doors of the Youth Development Division as a novice.  The excitement of having been given the opportunity to work with young people like myself was thrilling.  Who would have thought, this young lady would turn into a strong woman within the same Department for that many years, contributing to the lives of hundreds maybe even thousands of young men and women on a regular basis, through various programs and activities?

The many camps, retreats, seminars, symposiums, trainings, discussions, youth radio programs produced, job letters written, recommendations given, and all the too numerous to mention events that I have offered and or presented over the years have definitely reaped great harvest.  For today, I look back at some of my 4-Hers, summer day camp volunteers, peer educators, youth leaders, youth group members, trainees, and so many others from Primary school (pupils) to college level (students) who turned into youth who are now Fire Officers, Police Officers, Teachers, Lawyers, skilled men and women, entrepreneurs, media personnel, among other professions.  Thankfully, I can safely say that the majority of those I have encountered are confident and productive citizens of Dominica.

It is heartwarming to say the least to note that many of them are servants of our land; others are servants of other regional islands; while, many are serving international countries, and or are in pursuit of further education.  Notwithstanding such successes, I note the few who have fallen prey to societal ills, others who have died tragic deaths, while a few are perishing at the state penitentiary.

With this reality, can I throw in the towel and agree that my achievements are enough to define the quality of my work?  Nah, I doubt.  Youth is still on my side – as I say this with some skepticism for my Young Friends will probably take this as a great joke at my expense.  Fear not, you can laugh; I will laugh with you. :)   DSC00060

Seriously though, I cannot call it quits, though the temptation is great.  The work persists though over the past year and some, I have had new responsibilities and occupational focus, not exactly to my choosing.  Still I must persist on this journey of youth development, as I seek to impact lives positively, and shine wherever I’m planted, until otherwise.

Back then I used to say, “Youth Work Chose Me”, and I hadn’t chosen it.  I still subscribe to this belief somehow.  You see, many certificates, one Diploma in Youth Work, one 120 credit hours in Management in Learning, and one Bachelor of Arts – Cum Laude in Sociology & Psychology later, womanhood kicks in.

This Youth Worker is in a state of deeper awareness, and may just be seeking other interests, – who knows?  As long as we live, we should learn, grow, and perfect our craft right?  Well at least that is something I believe.  So, I am working on it.  At 18, I need to develop a new awareness of adulthood, for synonymously teens get excited at that juncture in my island.  Voting rights, adulthood and such privileges become front issues.  So, as if I am given new rights and opportunities at my 18, allow me to dream, pursue new grounds and maybe even fly without knowing where these new wings will take me.  After all, I am 18.  DSC00071

Thanks to all those who gave me wind, strengthened and or repaired those wings when they were injured, thought me to fly and even those who knocked me down sometimes.  I made it to 18.  Thanks to Papa God for All the Tremendous doors He has opened from then to now.  May I continue to grow!

This is an Emergency!

ImageSo much can be said about the frequent killings and violent acts now plaguing our nation and region.  One could assume that there is a certain plot to destroy the safety, stability and sanity of our society.  The question begs to be asked?  Who is winning this battle for our society’s soul and heart?  Further concerns linger to the extent of; “Why are these crazy things occurring?”   It becomes easier to focus on the blurry lines, the dark scenes, the scary reality and the sad stories.  Meanwhile, it seems like desensitization is captivating the conscience of the populace.  If not desensitization, then maybe its apathy, hopelessness or just plain blank visual, emotional, social, spiritual and societal defects.

The fact is, we cannot close our eyes to the reality of where we now live and the dynamism within which it has changed and continues to change.  Notwithstanding this need, I hasten to say that we should never allow these monstrosities to erode our inner peace, nor that of the society within which many of us have grown up –  a relatively safe environment.   Is it too late to salvage the freedom to express opposing views and still feel safe?  Is it too late to surround our vulnerable young men and women with a sense of love and togetherness, in the hope of creating a better society with and for them?

What has happened to the ability to resolve conflicts constructively?  Why have our people particularly our young men lost the art of dialoguing verbally, rather than with weapons, which results in horrific acts?  Where did we lose the peace?  With all these questions lurking about, with little or no answers, the temptation is to feel despondent.  The sense of hope and safety are undoubtedly threatened to the core.  Can we allow the negatives to erode the positivity of our humanity?  Should we?

There is an Urgent need for  collective social intervention.  The complexity of these occurrences is mind boggling.  We live in a different society today; to deny this is to be naive.  What can we do?  That is the question.  What intervention can we make in order to curb if not eradicate these ills.   The blame game will not work; the political point-seeking gimmicks stand to hurt the movement, and the careless planning and implementation of some social events enhances the chances of the horror, while they undermine the seemingly small efforts  being employed to create change for the better.

This is an Emergency!  It is a matter for speedy, but carefully calculated action. Tell me, what can we do as a people to meet our young men and women halfway?  Mark you, I am in no way saying that it is only young people who commit hideous acts in our land and or region.  For it is clear that “Children live what they learn.”   It is also clear that many adults have neglected their responsibilities and have displayed horrible examples to curious, hungry and innocent eyes.  Still, young men and women have souls, hearts, minds, blood and needs too.  But alas, how often they have lost touch of that reality, and have elevated the thirst for each other’s blood because it is easier to numb the emotions, than to face them constructively.   Cold, I know, but real.

Currently, I am searching for answers and intervention strategies.  WE Need (ed) it YESTERDAY!     Please feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations with me.  WE the citizenry must act, to rescue, safeguard and salvage our communities, our nation (s), our region and our people.  What do you say?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waFBCeEHza4  

(This song may not necessarily highlight in exact terms that which I speak of, but alas, those who are surrendered to the inability to seek constructive means to facing differences, and who revert to violence are very much like “crippled men / women.”  Our work is cut out for us.)

 

 

I’m gonna Break Free

Days when I just want to tear up  because I’m moved by the need to create, to do so much more than I can, within such little time.

When time and life’s demands require I expend me into “requirements” which are no way close to my passions.

Dang life, why are you so mean sometimes?  I can feel that fire burning, I’m gonna Burst Free – in time; – Watch Me! 

World in Chaos? – What about the Commonwealth values?

ceezpaul:

This Riot has long gone, but the needs for Commonwealth Values are urgent in our world…

Originally posted on Over-standing!:

Is it me, or just my stupidity? Is this injustice or is it a travesty? Could it be poverty or inequality? What is really happening today? In one part of the world where people still have food on their tables, schools to go to, gadgets to play with on a regular basis, the young have taken streets to seemingly protest what they think is “rich people making their lives a living hell.” In another part of the world, which over decades has been raped by the forefathers of more affluent lands, poverty, disease, hunger and massive deaths are occurring by the seconds all concurrently. Is this a coincident? What is this?

Like many in the world today, I hold no answers, but I seek some sort of over-standing. What a travesty our world is turning into. Don’t get me wrong, wars, riots, and all the societal ills highlighted above were…

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Advocacy!

Hope & Promise

One must live in Hope

Upon driving through the clustered Bay Street in my home town on Thursday 3rd October, I beheld the sad sight of the well known Darry (Darius Ducreay) as I always knew him. He seemed in utter discomfort as his (as I learned) burned body was half covered with what seemed like a t-shirt. You can excuse my eyes for not having captured the full view since driving safely was my primary objective.

The concerning matter was not so much the half-dressed Darry, but the burned one. My company on board informed me of the sad event which led to his burned body as rumored in the town. Since I hold not the facts to this incident, it is by choice that I at this time will not entertain the allegations. What I will entertain; however, is the greater picture of what I suspect is a high level of intolerance and desensitization of our people to heinous acts mischief.

Our society has a history of heckling, maliciously stereotyping and even slandering from time to time. Be it through the arts or otherwise, we have been guilty of some of these. Thus, is it a surprise that someone who is mentally ill could be treated with such hateful behavior, while to date its perpetrator lives in comfort without any form of prosecution? Could it be that “Mr. is a Mad Man” overrides his human right to be treated with dignity? We all know Darry has been violent in the past, but we also know he has been rather docile for some time now. I’m not here to cast stones, neither am I interested in meddling in a blame game, but this situation begs for a wake-up call. Again, I am quick to say that I was not there, and cannot put hand in fire for Darry. Still I am hoping that some level of investigation is occurring by the powers that be even as I write.

Meanwhile, the need to advocate for positive change beckons. We must ask ourselves – each of us the following questions:

• How do we treat the sick among us?
• Are we in a position to assist the mentally ill who sleep, walk and live on our streets?
• If we aren’t what needs to be done?
• Is our mental health care system efficient enough to restore the sick to wellness?
• Is the plague of insufficient funding for mental health care a lurking factor?
• Are families affected supported enough by the society?
• Are families directly affected by mental illness, supportive enough toward their own sick loved one (s)?
• Are people afraid to seek help in the early onset of mental illness? What can we do to prevent or lessen this fear?

A Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology does not qualify me to behave as if I have answers to these. On the adverse this background stirs the conscience within me to advocate for better treatment for the less fortunate among us. It reminds me of my Christian duty toward the marginalized; it directs me to speak up against societal abuse of its weaker subjects. It demands that I become proactive. Further, I am reminded that mental illness is not a crime. “This collection of mental disorders which are health conditions characterized by alterations in thinking, mood and or behavior associated with distress and or impaired functioning… is a hidden epidemic, because the shame and embarrassment associated with mental problems discourages people from acknowledging and talking about it.”Understanding Social Problems 4th Edition; Mooney, Knox & Schacht
To expand this issue, before leaving this box, I hereby submit that our society is becoming more violent, intolerant and desensitized than we can imagine. Or it is my ignorance of prior violent acts which lead to this statement? Has our historical past caught up with this generation? It is scary to say the least when:
• Our young men kill each other cold bloodied and we forget so quickly
• Our young women vilify each other in maypwie, via the social media and its cool to laugh at that
• Young women are prostituted via the use of social media, and the scandal offends just a few
• People are robbed; go missing and those in the know remain mute lest they become the next victim
• We have become so individualistic that we care less about the state of our locality
• Politicking becomes more important than truth, integrity and fairness
• People are encouraged to disrespect leaders and national offices
With all these in mind, and on my heart, I hereby put forward the following:
• Portsmouth needs Unity – Can be fostered through genuine, impartially moderated dialogue among key leaders with grassroots folks.
• The urgent need for a collective community based intervention toward solving the seemingly unobtrusive war brewing among our youth, particularly our young men. What an untapped resource.
• The health sector / health personnel must be rallied around; supported and encouraged to organize and or lead mental health education sessions and or drives
• Strategies for development of a support system for the mentally ill must be sought and developed.
• The need for resuscitation or development (where they don’t exist) of community / hamlet based developmental or interest groups / organizations within the Town and its environs. Such framework could lead to friendlier environments, less deviant behaviors, and more support based activities.
Conclusively, I hereby further submit to all and sundry:
This TOWN and its Residence MUST take to task and demand from ANY leader or potential leaders aspiring to represent it in the future, their proposals, plans and preliminary foundations (work / action) being set / set toward achieving these above mentioned necessary goals.  Talk is Not enough!

Letter to my Muse (Leipä)

ceezpaul:

Everybody needs a little inspiration.

Originally posted on Over-standing!:

My Dearest Leipä,

Today I read a blog post titled “Freeing Your Muse” by bestselling author Lynne Klippel http://businessbuildingbooks.com/freeing-your-muse#comment-443 and couldn’t help but think of you.

Lynne says that “Today, we refer to a personal muse as a source of inspiration, creativity, and genius. I like to think of my muse as an angel of creativity whispering great ideas into my ear.” I say, my Muse is a walking human being, who lives and breathes. Though I may have other muses, you seem to stand out. I could tell the world why you stand out, but I choose not to at this time.

Somehow, you should know that we see each other sometimes, yet avoid each other on a constant. We both need each other, I strongly believe that, yet there is a thick dichotomy between you and me. You know I exist, yet that is about all. I know…

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