Editor, The News:
As a life-long resident of Maple Ridge, I think it’s time we started to talk about matters that are important to us in a constructive manner.
With the municipal elections coming up in November, poverty and homelessness have once again become hot button topics.
You can almost feel the frustration people have through their comments on social media sites, this is something that scares many and they have every right to feel that way.
It is easy to give into fear as fear is nature’s own way of telling us that we could be in danger.
If you have never experienced living in poverty, then it may be difficult for you to grasp what exactly is going on with these people.
It is not a great place to visit, as it can be scarier than what you can imagine.
There are people suffering from all kinds of mental illnesses, addictions and other health problems.
I know this is not news to many of you, but there’s far more to it. You can’t put people in rooms so they are out of sight, out of mind. Then you aren’t dealing with the issues.
You could push them to the outskirts of town so they are far away from your neighborhood, but it still doesn’t deal with the problem.
I know some think those who are homeless should ‘get a job’ or ‘go to school.’
They think they are lazy.
They think, ‘If I can do it, so can they.’
If it was that easy, don’t you think people would be going for it?
I was one of those kids who struggled in school. I was put in one of those special classes because the normal curriculum was too difficult.
I had to work so much harder than everyone else just to keep up.
You may now think, ‘Just do the best you can because that’s all you can do.’
This is unfortunate for people to think because while it is, to some degree, the truth, it doesn’t have to be.
For too long this system of government has tried to sustain an obsolete way of operating.
The early education doesn’t work well for everyone.
The only way people living in poverty can move beyond their current limitations is to become educated.
It is by no means an easy task, but this is what happens when you neglect people.
If you had the chance to get to know these people, you would see that it has nothing to do with being ‘lazy.’
It has everything to do with being different.
Working 9-5 is okay for some, but it is not a world that works for everyone.
In fact, most people I know don’t really like doing what they are doing. But it’s something they do because they have to.
When was the last time you were able to work on your personal growth?
I don’t mean going to the movies or to a concert. I’m talking about maturing who you are so that you can better deal with those issues that have been plaguing you most of your life.
I find most people don’t even think that way because most of the stuff that helps costs too much money or people have too much pride to seek help.
With technology on the rise, our world will rapidly change, but did you know that we are already in a place where we could house these people living in poverty?
It doesn’t even have to be anything too grand.
Micro homes can be cost effective and can also be sustainable.
You don’t diminish any of the hard work you have made in your life by helping out people less fortunate than yourself. If anything, there are a lot of social lessons we can learn that will only benefit the rest of society by coming together and helping people grow.
No doubt that there will be people who won’t want to do anything and will want things given to them, and that’s okay because right now that’s the way they are feeling.
The one thing I use to think this town had lots of was a sense of community, but these days it seems more like divided neighborhoods.
We need to promote healthy community ideals, not ideals given to us from an older generation, but ideals that reflect the people of today. Give people a reason to participate and they will.
Now, obviously, there can and will be a lot of talk around this issue, and that’s good. That’s what needs to happen. We need people from all walks of life to come together to form a type of United Nations of Maple Ridge. You could call it ‘United Communities.’
We need to learn to communicate with each other and really listen.
In the end, the only way things get done is if we work together, and I know there are people out there who want to do something, but don’t know what.
Let’s have a talk. Who’s up for that?
Whether you agree with me or not, it’s all just food for thought.