Ashton Deroy writes: This blog is an open letter to anyone involved with Keys Job center in Kingston Ontario. The narrative not included in the letter sent to Keys Job center is that I fully blame the current Provincial administration under the Progressive Conservatives here. I have also emailed Kingston Ontario’s Provincial MP who is a representative on our side. They are an NDP representative which is Ontario’s Socialist representation who currently represent my political views as a Canadian Social Democrat/Socialist.
I maximized my emphasis on rage related to this issue because the impulsive decision to make austerity cuts that harm people who can’t express their best interests is reckless. If we want people to work? We have to feed them. We have to show them it is worth working in Kingston Ontario. We have to show them that society cares about them getting on their feet. This job center should not just be a cold place of work, work work. After all the coldness of our employers within Kingston Ontario is what I consider a large contributor to the issues of working poverty within our community.
To: Keys Job Center.
Purpose: To convince anyone involved with funding that Grocery cards must be seen as a necessity.
Outcome: I am hoping this will illustrate the reasons why helping with food is an essential service of this program. Not an accessory item.
Introduction: For the Keys job program I reminded myself everyday “Don’t be judgmental.” That is because it closes you off and alienates you from others. However, at this time, I believe you need a literal interpretation of the environment of YJC in order to accurately capture what is a necessity. Despite the fact that I am a college graduate this program has been a vital contribution to my current survival. By the time I was out of college I was desperate to survive & make decisions such as my living situation that I could not make with capacity. One of the key issues was that I could not afford food, I was disorganized in my job search & I needed feedback because my resume was sub-par.
The first issue I mention is that I could not afford food & I was not alone because my peers were in the same boat. In fact, the lack of resources related to being able to afford food was related to many of the qualities in individual health that people told me about in the confidence of friendship from within the program. In my class, we had to vary the displayed results of malnourishment. Some of my peers had a weight that was excessively high due to poor access to healthy foods. Other of my peers were anorexic due to limited resources to acquire nutritional foods. Now I want to point out an absurdity.
The fact is I was a poor person should not have to explain to people who allocate funding why these food cards are a necessity. You should know! There is enough information out there where you should be able to make reasonable deductions about the quality of life of youth from the ages of 15-30 who can not obtain employment. For instance, you should be able to know that many of my peers would have trouble verbalizing in an articulate manner that they struggle to afford food. We should not have to say it in writing! You should know based on readily available information as a supportive member to the poorest class in the community of Kingston Ontario. This is the most important thing the program did for me within the span of 3 weeks.
Keys helped me organize my job hunt. I feel without that help I would have stayed at home or spent time begging just to try & survive. Through Keys, I wrote down leads for meaningful jobs that could develop into careers I turn in to long term success. Again though without the assistance of a grocery store gift card, I could not have been at Keys as often as I would. Job hunting is fine. However, the immediate needs for food are more pressing. I am not ashamed to say without Keys I would not be on a Productive path & I would drain Ontario Works for longer just trying to sort out basic needs for the meantime. Again talking about my situation is embarrassing, however maybe if I do someone else won’t have to explain the awkward indignities of being poor even after attending a College program as a disabled adult!
The program did a wonderful job helping resume organization & giving feedback on a job application. They helped me organize my professional experiences & strategize how to best sell myself to an employer. This task will help me with the use of a professional and creative CV for the next 2 years of my employment. Now I can reformat this resume when needed to search for better opportunities. As a bonus, I will say Dan did a better job than my college professors did at helping me format a resume. Something like this helps, but it is worthless on an empty stomach. If I did not have food I would not have come to Keys for this help. I would be spending my time at food banks & begging my family. Rather than focus on my professional development. This is something else I am embarrassed that I have to explain in the face of more Conservative cuts.
“You can not cut your way to prosperity.” Justin Trudeau 2019. I understand that our current administration at the provincial level is putting pressure on everyone to save money. However, the facts are facts. Ontario has rampant poverty which the UN defines as earning less than a dollar a day, illiteracy that is vastly underestimated & workers that would never be ready if not for the full contributions of the program such as a Youth Job Connection. If I have to explain these cuts to this extent, maybe guys don’t need just a letter! Maybe you need the common sense to hire more people like me who completed college & then were homeless the month after completing college! Maybe you need less privileged administrators who are not guaranteed their roof above their head, food on their plate & absolute safety! Maybe that it is what it will take to not have issues with stuff like justifying grocery cards as a necessity to the lowest class of people! If you are considering cutting the grocery card. My only question for you is,
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
Signed with outrage!