Making a difference

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If you have ever had your car, home or business broken into, you know the feelings of violation and anger that go with it. You want the perpetrator to pay, and that does not mean be arrested, spend one night in jail and then be out on bail to steal again.

A deeper look at the entire complex issue of crime in relation to addiction, mental illness and poverty needs to be taken and the CK Prosperity Round Table team is doing just that. Through engaging the entire community – from people with lived experiences to business owners to religious groups – the team wants to hear from people of all walks of life.

Community Conversations got underway this week across the municipality as part of the fact-gathering portion of a five-year plan that at its absolute best could eradicate poverty, and at its least could ensure there are less poor people in Chatham-Kent, not just better poor people.

When you feel violation and anger, it is hard to not judge people who steal while in the grips of heavy addiction and the need for their next fix. As Phillip Mock, project co-ordinator of the Round Table team, said, when a person is in the depths of addiction, they don’t stop to think what their actions may do to hurt people. They just want to survive another day.

Engaging people living in poverty where they are comfortable, and gaining their trust to have difficult conversations means those who have been hurt need to reach deep for patience and understanding to see the other point of view.

There is a lot to be learned from each other if we take the time to listen without bias and judgment. Mock acknowledged that there are some people who don’t want to change, or can’t for their own reasons. That is the way with anyone living with addictions – it is difficult to see a way out when you don’t know help is out there or how to access it.

Share your compassion, your knowledge and listening skills. It is amazing what we can learn and so many can benefit from in a collaborative, caring effort to meet people where they live and offer a hand up.

When the Prosperity Round Table volunteers ask you to sit at a table and think outside the box, don’t automatically say no.

It can make a difference to our entire community.

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