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Hiding in Plain Sight: The Stories of Today’s Youth

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“Every year a couple of teens die tragically, often because of suicide. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s inevitable.”

These words were spoken to me by a long-time educator with the school board. Though I knew her sentiments came from both fatigue and frustration, I couldn’t help but recoil at her words and the apathy that accompanied her thinking. As we continued talking (and many times since then) I found myself wondering how many others share this belief; that the tragic loss of teenage life is inevitable? What I said to her then and what I say to you now could be summarized this way:

“There is so much more we could be doing and there is so much more we should be doing! To give up and do nothing is never an option!”

Today, I simply invite you to read the words of a teenage girl who took the time to write a letter of thanks. Though the letter is from a few years back, her words remind me of the importance of a place like RE:SOUL. Often unknowingly we are dealing with matters of life and death!

(Note: Though a few minor name changes or deletions were made for confidentiality sake, I’ve left the body of the letter exactly as I received it.)

when i started going to the church in grade 9 i wanted to find God. I wanted to believe in something greater than what we have on earth, i wanted some hope.
i don’t know if you knew, but i was very depressed in grade 9. i was cutting my wrists , smoking weed, and often taking large doses of over the counter drugs to help me sleep.

i grew up as a catholic, but i never believed in God, so i turned to the youth group in order to try to help me, from a different perspective, i was as you would explain it. “exploring faith”.

i kept coming back, in order to try and find and understand God, but what kept me coming back more than anything, was the youth and how accepted and loved i felt when i was there. at the time i had alot “friends” but really, i felt lonely. i didn’t trust anyone, because i didn’t trust myself unless i was high, because than i didn’t hate myself.

i want to thank you though. without you, and the youth, i would not be here today. i honestly believe that without the support you provided with me, i would have fallen farther into drugs, become more depressed, and probably would have died from OD, or from cutting my wrists.

you saved me. you also made me a stronger person, you made me be more accepting of other people and i am happier now.

Worth noting, I am simply one of many adults who welcomed and poured into the life of this young lady. It was the environment of acceptance, belonging, and love that gave her the foundation to find greater strength, peace, and happiness! This is what we do at RE:SOUL.

 

Sincerely,
Michael Burns
Director, RE:SOUL Youth Centre / YFC Milton

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