As we watch the escalating violence and substance abuse in our communities, we have to wonder how this chain can be broken. Dysfunctional adults are almost always the product of traumatized children. Childhood trauma comes in many forms, as simple as the loss of a parent through divorce, accidental death or a fatal illness or in it's worse forms, physical, psychological or sexual abuse or witnessing violence within their homes.
These children have no means of understanding their pain and in most cases, have no help assigned to them. Inevitably, they become adults and the anger, fear and grief control their thoughts and actions. Substance abuse becomes the main coping method for medicating away these internal issues.
I was one of those children, born to an alcoholic World War II veteran; I was the victim of physical and psychological abuse at home, bullying and beatings at school and sexual abuse at the hands of a family member. Somehow, I escaped the path that most children end up on, graduated from college and worked 30 years in the financial world. For me, the repercussions started in 2003, when I began experiencing severe episodes of anxiety attacks that led to a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder. As the conditioned worsened, it cost me my job, marriage and health. I lost everything.
I am one of the lucky ones, to have had the chance to get first class treatment at the Sinai hospital in Toronto through a program for adults who have suffered severe childhood Post Traumatic Distress Disorder.
But so many others have fallen through the cracks. You can find them in jails, rehab programs, sleeping on the street or in any cemetery. My eldest brother is a lifetime addict on social welfare. I have seen so many peers and friends succumb to addiction. It is heartbreaking to see so many lives ruined.
I am at a cross roads in my life: unemployed, out of cash. I have no one to rely on to help me in my quest to change careers and do something of true value. I am therefore asking the public to aid me in my quest to enroll in a one-year diploma program in Addictions and Community Services at Everest College in Toronto. The end goal for me is to work with at risk teens to help them get the help they need, to mentor and show them that one can live a good life, free of pain and dire consequence.
I am seeking to raise 28,000, which will cover my tuition, books, lab fees and room and board for the 10-month period of study. All course commitments are 14,000, and I have budgeted another 1400 per month in room and board for the 10-month period.
This cause is very dear to me. I have coached girls’ soccer for 10 years and high school football for 5 years and it is there that I learned how much of a positive effect I had on the children I worked with. I believe that at risk youth will listen to me and allow me to mentor them, as I am one of them, having grown up in poverty and pain and beaten the odds.
Please help me realize this dream. I cannot offer near term rewards as every penny must go into school but I can promise constant updates of my progress and my course marks. Once I graduate, I plan to raise more money to start a foundation strictly for these kids.