Jaime Nguyen 7
Caring for High School Dropouts
Having been raised by loving parents in a safe community without any extreme life hardships for 16 years has left me unintentionally ignorant to the immense struggles that homeless youths face. Homeless people live in third world countries where the government isn’t efficient enough to do anything to help those in need. But this is America. Sure, some people have it worse than others, and yeah there are the fresh-out-of-college grads that live from check-to-check, but still, this is America. We don’t purposely neglect our citizens that need help, especially not the ones who aren’t even legal adults. So why is it that “almost 40% of homeless people in the United States are under eighteen” (Ryan loc396)? With the rising number of displaced teens, high school dropout rates are soaring at 27 percent (Top issues: Education). It’s not simply a matter of how to find a baseline solution to make the problem go away. A certain level of understanding needs to be acquired: an understanding of how being without a home affects the future and wellbeing of these young people and society as a whole.
When life seems to be out to get you at every step, as it had with Paulie from Almost Home with an abusive adoptive father, a mother that had abandoned him as a child, and a system that had ultimately failed him, school doesn’t feel like a priority anymore. Suddenly that algebra test isn’t as important as trying to stay warm at night or finding your next meal. It becomes hard to understand that “education may very well be the single most important tool for young people aiming for self-sufficiency” (Ryan loc1033). Often times, society likes to blame the student for failing to keep up with the curriculum. We need to stop looking at the situation as a black and white picture and start looking for the shades of gray that represent each different aspect that one person is going through that another isn’t. To the homeless youths, it may.
Jaime Nguyen 7