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Date: 01 Nov 2003
Time: 15:34:17 -0500
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We talk a lot in our church (Maple Grove United Church not far from Gairloch Gardens) about seeking to create a nurturing, stable, inclusive environment where young people can acquire the resources to be resilient in the face ot the world 'out there'. Perhaps it is a myth that stability contributes to resilience, but I think not. While marriages continue to crumble, economic stability continues to elude many of the residents of our neighbourhood, and the construction of 'McDisney' houses often lasts longer than the marriages of their original owners, the humanness of the size and nature of our neighbourhood and the resources of our members gives us tools we can use to help our young folk to become resilient and caring. For those who discover trouble: our church and local school administrations know who of our youth are in trouble and what the troubles are. When a judge sentences a youth to 100 hours of community service, that service may well be supervised by the church that the judge and the family of the youth attend. And when that youth straightens out and goes on to university and a creative life, well, the judge may hear about that from his minister. The great majority of our youth learn from their parents and other caring adults in the church to care for others both locally, in Toronto and further afield. We have all ages involved in supporting local initiatives with time and money: Kerr Street Ministries, Halton Women's Place, Halton Children's Aid, "Out of the Cold" in Toronto, vaccinating against polio in Africa and India, supporting a family hit by HIV/Aids in South Africa, just to name a few. My oldest daughter attending Etobicoke School for the Arts; she knew she had grown up in the Oakville 'bubble'. With the stability of her experience here, she has the resources and the motivation to care for others even while she is away at university. My youngest daughter hasn't been out of the bubble yet -- but is deeply compassionate and caring for others, campaigning for the CNIB and the Humane Society. I can't find too much fault with a 'community' that produces young adults like these. We haven't achieved perfection by a long shot, but wherever these young people end up, they will make their communities better for their resilience and caring.