Above It All

Challenges facing our teens

Above it all logo
Kareem LaTouche, Youthlink Coordinator.

About two years ago,  I got a chance to chat  with some guidance  counsellors while at a university  seminar geared towards highschool  students. During breaks,  we would form a huddle and  talk about the challenges facing  our teens and how these  challenges can hinder their  academic growth, especially  when matriculating to a  university.

Some of the first-hand stories  they shared were very alarming  and sad; most centred around  the psychological effects of  being in an impoverished  situation, as well as living with  a disease like sickle cell.    It was clear that more  light needed to be  shone on these issues,  with the hope of  informing and  sensitising others.  All this has given  birth to the Above It  All series which  focuses on youth  who have  succeeded, despite going  through extenuating  circumstances.

Our colloquial  motto, ‘Wi lickle but  wi tallawah’, can be  applied to so many  aspects of our lives,  and the persons in this  series exemplify this  concept. For them, life has not  been a fairy tale filled with  happy endings in each chapter.  Instead, it has been a constant  trial where their ability to  survive is always being tested.  In the end, though, it paints an  obvious picture that  determination and a strong  support from competent and  caring persons can combat the  hardest challenges. Without  these components, many of  these persons would have been  stuck in the abyss of failure, but  they refused to accept defeat as  their destiny.

I hope when their stories are  read, we become more sensitive  to the issues our youth are  facing and find channels to  support and encourage them.  From the outside, it’s easy to  categorise someone as ‘stupid’  or ‘worthless’ without  understanding what that person  is going though. For example, it  can be an uphill battle to show  up to school, much less learn.  For this reason, we must  become more constructive in  our approach to each other,  with the aim to build and not  destroy. We must find a way to  put aside narrow-minded points  of view. Without a doubt, a  caring heart and an informed  mind can help us to accomplish  this.

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