February 18, 2014 by dborys
The real life article linked below seems to combine two themes found in my last Street Stories novel, Bend Me, Shape Me, with the new book I am working on. The young girl in the article is a First Nation homeless youth trying to escape a family history of poverty, abuse and fear, just like Snow in Bend Me. The real life girl is also a straight A student who, just like Booker T in the new book, understands that education is the key to stepping out of the gutter. Except sometimes even when people work hard to better themselves, the system meant to protect them often works against them.
Click through to hear an example of why we shouldn’t judge without knowing the full story.
Her dream is simple enough: To be the first in her family to graduate from high school and go to college. In fact, her dream is also in line with the B.C. government’s stated goal of increasing aboriginal graduation rates and ought to be attainable.
“I know the stats: 53 per cent of aboriginal youth drop out,” she says. “I don’t want to be that statistic. But what choice are they [the ministry] giving me? If I drop out then I really will be spending my life in the welfare system.”
She regrets ever mentioning that she has First Nations ancestry. When it comes to First Nations kids, she fears that the ministry is more concerned about keeping families together than with keeping children safe.
If she wasn’t First Nations, the teen believes she would have been in ministry care long ago.