You know, I was thinking about how sometimes when I present junior youth groups I usually ask the junior youth ” do you think you can change the world? ” Most of them shrug, and some even laugh.
The youth I have talked to in Juan de la Cierva are a rowdy and disrespectful. They laugh at even the idea of picking up trash. For the longest time I didn’t have anywhere for them to go to the junior youth group so we met in the park. A dirty, no benches park. But it’s where they all hung out. And they knew I would show up on a friday and be there. One time, when I was at my lowest they showed up in the middle of the rain.
The kids who came were an eclectic gamma of youth, most of them with no family per say and rejected by society for being immigrants : Hungarians, Romanian, Moroccan, Ecuadorian, colombian. Sometimes they would steal money, sometimes they would push. Once they set fire to a huge trash container and the firemen came. Another time they gleefully showed me marijuana joint they had found ( to my complete and utter embarrassment right when a counselor of the international teaching centre was coming with a huge amount of other countries)
But yet, there was a hunger to be something else. I can feel it. It’s odd, because when i stopped trying they still looked me up on the street, they would yell at me from a distance and ask after me. If I gave up on them, I wonder who would care. These kids, whose parents some are addicted to drugs or in prison…
Last saturday, the ” good ” kids went out and asked the neighborhood what they wanted to change. The junior youth had told me that the old men gave them problems in the park. I thought ah well just generation gaps but when we went up to them, and one of them saw that the kid was morrocan he started to insult him.
It made me think how everyday, these kids have to deal with insults. One time, a group of them was saying bad words and an older woman told them they were good for nothing pigs. I told them ” that’s not true you are worth something, what you do can change the world”.
This might be a cheesy statement… but in a way it’s true. I was thinking how back home in El Salvador, the worst problem comes from gangs. The gangs recruit junior youth , mostly from broken homes who see the gang as ” family” and their morals get distorted. These junior youth singlehandedly can cause violence, murders, drugs ,etc
So , it’s safe to say that junior youth can change an environment negatively. Why is it so farfetched to think it can influence in a positive way? Maybe because we are more likely to think that it isn’t possible. But what if we can definitely change a community for the better? What if a small step can change an old man’s heart towards a whole race of people? what if one kid grows up and becomes amazing, isn’t that worthwhile?