Bipolar Bliss n' Blues
This is my personal fufillment/journal diary blog. I am bi-polar and sometimes its a little hard to sort out all that craziness, the feelings, the rush of emotions. This is my sanctuary. Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. Lets see if I grow up to BE someone! Or... fade into the background like a wilted orchid. Once beautiful, now overshadowed by others in vibrance and ambition. Like minded souls, let us share in each others wisdom, celebrate life's victories, and support each other whenever we stumble.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
I've been given numerous second chances in my life. Second, third, fourth, and fifth chances. Chances I didn't deserve but ultimately am grateful for. I am an advocate for second chances especially when it comes to young, ignorant people who do bad things because they don't know a life outside of that. I was a bad kid. I was a father's worst nightmare when I was a teenager. I talked back, I skipped school, I smoked cigarettes and pot, I had older boyfriends that my parents never met, I stole, I drank, I snuck out of the house, I stole the car to get into bars downtown when I was underage... You get the idea. I was out of control and made a lot of mistakes and bad choices. My parents weren't perfect. Our family had a lot of problems and maybe if my Mom didn't have a head injury she suffered from being in a horrible car accident when I was little, my life would have been different. My upbringing suffered because of mental and emotional instability.
I didn't grow up in a broken home surrounded by crime and criminals so I have no idea how hard things can really be when you're a kid. I thought my life was hard but then I hear stories about kids who have been sexually abused, abandoned by drug-addicted parents who didn't want them anyway, kids who've been through every kind of foster parent you can imagine. Kids that grew up with their father, their uncle or their older brother in a gang, and they were expected to join themselves once they were old enough. Kids that didn't know any better and didn't know of a life outside of violence, desperation and hopelessness. Kids that were so poor they were starving. It's not surprising that the path to their future leads to jail.
People can be rehabilitated. I have seen it. You cannot change someone if they don't want to change, but if they want to change, you should support that right? A huge problem that's not getting enough attention is what happens to these kids, these juvenile delinquents, once they've served their time?
How do they get a job and start over?
They don't believe in second chances.
But some businesses do. This company, Homeboy Industries, hires ex-cons to make their bread. No, it's not the most glamorous job, but ANY job is a good job when you are a former prisoner. It's good to work with an employer that takes the time to try to understand you and where you came from. They don't judge you for what has happened in the past, they help you move forward. They believe in your potential and your commitment to change. Why don't more employers try to be like Homeboy industries? Why is there so much stigma when it comes to hiring an ex-con who has served his time and wants to change? Can we really decide someone is not right for the job when we are basing all of our opinions on who they were ten years ago?
If we don't give them a chance, they won't be able to change, no matter how much they want to. Many ex-criminals fall back into the lifestyle they left before they they were incarcerated. I think many of them are left without many options. What do you do when you've been locked away from the world for a decade, and are released to a society that won't accept you now? What do you do when you can't get a job. How do you provide for yourself?
Lets support companies like Homeboy Industries and their mission to help rehabilitate people that need a second chance. Homeboy Industries isn't just an employer. They offer services like tattoo removals for former gang members, case management, mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence counseling. They have a Homegirl Cafe and A Homeboy Farmer's Market. They are saving people's lives because they care about the people that society has written off. Homeboy Industries is located in Los Angeles, but you can support them via donations if you don't live near them.
Visit tattoosontheheart.org to find out more. Every little bit helps. If you can't donate, please help raise awareness for this cause via social media. Like them on Facebook. Help get the word out!
Everyone deserves a second chance.
If YOU know of a great rehabilitation program near you, or you've read about one, please share with me via a comment, and I will be happy to add info to this blog.