The Forgotten Ones - Breaking The Cycle

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The Forgotten Ones - Breaking the Cycle A speech by Sophie Holt Tonight I wish to talk to you about a disturbing issue that you are all probably aware of but haven’t given a lot of thought to; or perhaps you’ve neatly tucked it away in the too hard basket. But tonight I ask you to listen - not only with your ears but also with your hearts to the story of the forgotten people, most of whom are aged between 12 to 19 years of age. They are our homeless youth. Kids; living on the streets, surviving on a wing and a prayer; facing challenges and fears that you and I cannot imagine. Youth homelessness is one of the most neglected social issues in our country. Sadly, due to the apathy and indifference of the nation, 22,000 teenagers are homeless. That’s 22,000 kids living on the streets, in parks and drains. Even more chilling is the fact that most of these abandoned kids are abused and most will become drug users. How is it possible you may ask, that in the “Lucky Country” so many thousands of teenagers are without a home? Good question! But I have a more important question to ask you. What can you and I do about it?? To answer this question, we must first understand why children as young as 12 have no home to go to OR why they choose life on the street as a better alternative to living at home. Let me introduce you to Dale, his story is typical of street kids. At the age of 13, Dale was homeless. His mother was a crack addict and her boyfriend was a violent user who brutalised Dale and his mother regularly. Dale had spent time in intensive care after one of his step father’s vicious beatings. Soon after, he was kicked out of home. Dale turned to crime for food and to feed his newly acquired drug habit. By age 17, Dale had been stabbed, had spent time in juvenile detention, was drug dependent and was suffering from malnutrition. Dale is a real person.
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