"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Saturday 21 April 2012

It Takes a Village

I am actually anticipating a favourable hearing from Council on the demolition of old buildings an replacing them with new.

A person could be twenty years on a Council without having an opportunity to invest one's  ideas and enthusiasm to  build something spectacular.

Negative comments received are mostly personally hostile against  myself. That was predictable. They won't generate much support.
They may not even come out of the woodwork. 

The fact is, I wasn't on Council when the decision was made to build a new library to replace the old one.

Or a firehall on  a  site in our new  prestige industrial park.

The decisions were made without me.

But a picture has evolved.  It is clear where we  need to go from here.

We do have a different concept within Council about  design and purpose of a teen centre .

I don't think it should be more athletic facilities. Staff think it should be multi-purpose and make the best possible use of public resources. I don't fault them for that.

But we  have made the same  mistakes with every facility we ever built by  trying  to be too many things and not being quite successful with any. More money is spent trying to achieve unrealistic ends.

I think  a teen centre it should be close to a hang-out and  user friendly  More like a coffee shop with room to move about.

Admission should be open with an opportunity for  revenue

Having to pay a transit fare will put it out of  reach of kids who need  it most.

In  Halifax last year, I attended a workshop about the high  cost of policing  and typical knee jerk  reactions. A panel  spoke to the issue from three different angles.

The third  was most compelling to me.

The speaker was from Waterloo Region's Social and Family Services..

We learned  kids who would end up in jail could be identified  by Grade 5. They ones  who hadn't mastered  basic  reading and writing skills.

It struck a chill to my heart. Stephen Harper's campaign promise to build more jails did nothing to quell my conviction, we are not doing right by our kids.

I know from experience, a comment like that does not engender  sympathy from the average middle class or well-off parent who  has everything to give to their kids.

How many times have we heard it  and said it.  The kids are our future. It means all  the kids.

A teen centre to me is a place to reach kids. The ones who might be heading for trouble as well as those who are not.

To  let them know,  they do matter. We do care. .

Provide  contacts for  resources they might need. Make  them  welcome.  Let them have  fun while  going about the business of  safely growing up.

The Mayor says we can't afford that. I'm not sure what he means by "that"

I'm not talking about kids in trouble.

I'm talking about keeping kids out of trouble.

I'm not thinking about a $600,000. gymnasium and healthy physical exercise; the mantra of adults who've forgotten what it's like.

I'm talking about a home away from home, with  peers for validation and a friendly adult or two  nearby with  good listening
skills and useful advice to offer. Especially the lonely kid  having trouble mixing in.

"It takes a whole village to raise a child"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My son loved the Nemarket
centre when he was in his early teens. The skateboard park, the gym, the lounge and computers were favorites of his. The centre was always busy and well run. The area was perfect as there was little residential around and ample parking. I would like to know just what age group the Aurora centre is based on. And what gender. It can't be everything to everybody. Pre-teens to young teens need somewhere for dances, activities and yes, some kind of gym for exercise. When we were kids, the high schools use to open up for Thursday and Friday night open gym and the school cafeterias would have bands playing or a d.j. It was a cheap and easy solution and we loved it. Hundreds of kids would attend. Why couldn't the town try something like this first before committing to a facility that will cost a ton to build? Much cheaper to hire staff to work those evenings at a school, like the Newmarket dances.