Advocacy cornerstone of Alta Vista’s youth

posted in: Media, Op-Ed | 0

The following op-ed was published in the July 5 edition of Community Voice.

Considering technology is evolving at such an incredible pace, the future will not even remotely resemble what we, our parents, or grandparents experienced.

We do know this is going to have a profound impact on the lives of our children and youth.

This is especially true for the workplace given collaboration between robotics and humans – which used to be viewed as somewhat in the distant future – is more and more common. But we must remember where it all begins and look at how we put that into the reality of day-to-day life.

Alta Vista embraces a wide variety of residents with varying income, educational and age groups. Given that a 2011 census estimates that 21 per cent of the ward is comprised of children and youth, many opportunities are possible, yet for many, simply getting through the day is a priority.

The pending deplorable eviction of more than 105 Heron Gate families is a prime example of the added level of challenges that some Alta Vista children and youth are facing. How are they expected to participate – let alone thrive – in the future economy, when folks don’t even know where and how they are going to live.

Canadians who depend upon affordable housing for their families – often larger families – now have their lives disrupted considerably and in many ways.

We need to do more to ensure all children have the opportunity to succeed.

Youth drop-in centres, activities, equally modern, safe and creative playgrounds are needed more than ever to enable youth to develop valued social skills, grow and thrive.

Most importantly – to stay out of trouble. Instilling a sense of pride, hope, health and value in kids is a solid base on which to build a life and to feel a sense of belonging. Sending a message to young people that they are worth the investment has longterm benefits in many aspects of our society and our local neighbourhoods.

We can never forget that it’s the youth who are today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. That means all youth, not some youth, need to be included, listened to and valued, for each has endless potential if there is the opportunity.

Raylene Lang-Dion is a candidate for the Alta Vista seat on Ottawa city council in the Oct. 22 municipal election.