in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Invest in youth -- especially rehabilitated juvenile offenders

File under: mentoring, civil rights

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From: David S., Pittsburg, CA

I am a juvenile offender, or, as the district attorney stated, "a menace to society." My offenses were at the ripe old age of 13, though I was not released from probation until age 20 (it's as if the system says, "No, you cannot succeed. You create our jobs, peasant!"). And I have had no offenses since, not even a ticket. Here in the Bay Area, the challenges that most youth face are in the home. Believe me: It is the home that dictates what goes down with the kids. Kids are central to this issue of poverty and reducing poverty simply because they will carry on our third world vision of rehabilitation in the criminal system and be our drug dealers and homeless people.

I'm 22 years of age, and I have something to say: We poor people, we non-high school grads, we dropouts, we impoverished underclass -- we are also of intelligent design. You can ask for more funding, but surely a war can not be won by funding alone. You can implement more strategy, but I say, "Surely a house can not stand if its foundation is weak," or was, in all actuality, ill founded. We will always have homeless people, thugs and criminals. But the youth, if truly sought after, will heed the call and come if the call comes in time. We are not the only players on the field. We are those that would enlighten, lead and uplift.


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