Violence among the young is nothing new, children have been bullied for generations, but in this day and age it seems that more and more young people are taking it to more violent extremes; in recent memory is a incident at a school in Hamilton. But there are those who would see the situation improve – and who are working toward that goal. That’s where we get the story of Isiah Baptiste; a young man from Toronto, who went from bully to advocate with a little help. Isiah came from a difficult upbringing, separated parents switched custody of him back and forth, he was moved from school to school; always ending up in behavioural programs from impulse control and a smart mouth.
By the time he entered Grade 7, he was at his fourth school in Toronto. It was hard being the new kid in school all the time. And sometimes, his temper would flare. “I’ve had incidents where I’ve exploded. I didn’t know why I was angry, but it was like, I didn’t know what to do. I was very overwhelmed.” Inevitably his fists began to fly as he became older and lesser intimidation wasn’t granting him the validation he sought. But that year also saw the start of a change for Isiah, and it started with his Grade 7 teacher and a man named Randell Adjei. Isiah’s teacher took an opportunity to meet the young man on his level and discovered he was intelligent, frustrated, and worked a little differently from other kids. While Mr. Adjei is the founder of a program RISE, which stands for Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere. With these two influential figures Isiah was able to find his voice; he learned how to explore and understand his emotions, how to express himself, and discovered his love of poetry. This helped change him: “Now, I’m a lover, not a fighter,” he laughs.
But he is not alone in his struggles; many other kids are fighting to deal with the same. They need help.
Joseph Smith is a teacher at Northview Heights Secondary School in Toronto. He’s only been a teacher for seven years, but has already worked in a handful of elementary and high schools across the city. He says he wants to see more permanent programs in schools teaching kids ways to deal with their emotions. So Smith has created his own non-profit called Generation Chosen to teach young people emotional intelligence and how to confront mental challenges. The group of mostly boys meet every Tuesday. Most are from marginalized communities. “Young people need to learn skills to help them mitigate their own internal tensions so they don’t unleash it on someone else,” he says. The ability to put a stop to violence from young men is enough for your Good News Story of the Day, which you can find much more on here; but he adds – “If they can better deal with emotional world, they can make the world better.” God help them to make the world better.
Story and Image from CBC News.