Wali Shah, a rapper/poet based in Mississauga shares the impact your donation has on youth in Peel.

They say, that you should never judge a book, by its cover, but people very easily judge clothes and skin color, people don't bother, to look further under, the skin, the flesh & facial expressions, they'd rather stereotype you by the way that your dressing. They'd rather not bother to think for a second, that you might be stressing, that you grew up a mess and had a life full of tension. Stereotyping has become more of a fashion, and evolves into genocide when put into action; and as our actions turn into reactions, we ruin our children who have minds full of passion; and so I'd like to share a story, a story about kid, who grew up kind of screwed up and regretted all he did, and I hope that by the end, you won't be as quick to judge, or that you'll drop a stereotype or won't hold a grudge. So imagine a child at six years old, who was constantly, bullied, even his parents would scold, him, so thin, from malnutrition, no food in his belly and no food in his kitchen. But that's to be expected in the suburbs of T.O., where the streets run by gangs and low-life zeros, and as time went on he saw the opportunity, the thugs were his family, and the gang was true unity; & even when he moved, that wouldn't change, his crew at middle school he never thought to be strange, he was a cage bottled rage, a maze full of madness, pains was his address with mail from sadness. Growing up he started dealing & stealing, a 12 year old mind turned into a villain. He was in love the block, and in love with the chilling, he was hurt inside and no one knew how he was feeling. He got jumped and jumped cats, they'd talk bad, he'd talk back, you fought him, he fought back, and at times he wouldn't leave his house without a weapon, he carried switchblade everywhere for protection, in reflection he got bullied and jumped by his best friends, flip philosophy the means don't justify the ends, his young mind was now set for revenge & the moment his thug life peaked and deceased, was the same moment he was weak, in custody of police. It was March 2009, assault was the charge, this wasn't the first time, and he knew his life would be hard. After this he knew his record would never be gone, and worst of all they cuffed him right in front of his mom, they threw him in the back, as his mothers eyes filled with tears, the boy almost 15 had a mind full of fears, they took him to division 12, he spent that night behind bars, and crushed his fantasy of having money and fast cars. It wasn't until he got the chill from the cold cell block that he realized the consequences of stealing and selling rock. He did two things that night, he cried and he thought, he thought of those unfortunate who had even less, and how he himself had to be blessed, he vowed with his head bowed facing his chest, that he would try his hardest, and chase success, and give respect back to those who gave him the best. And as the teen entered a period of betterment, his efforts towards a positive change became evident, he started giving respect to the “nerds” with the glasses, he stopped skipping and got above 80, in all of his classes, and passes, his realistic goals, he could use time management, but now his heart isn’t cold, he’s the kind of person feeds love to the total population, who wants nothing more then a society with a proper education, and started poetry, illustrating his dedication. Now, two years later the youth at 17, would speak about his past, & material dreams. The gangster schemes, thugs, goons, and crack fiends, the lust and greed to get the green and fighting past the point in which one would bleed, his past experiences seemed, to motivate and make him concentrate to become better, he now works at Cawthra Community Centre, to make his cheddar, he’d attend conferences around the city to sharpen his mind, he’d volunteer with at-risk youth and talk of the man he left behind, and preach the fact that his life was at it’s prime, and the youth could help too by spitting a rhyme, or even by simply making use of their time, he was a social leader slash rap diva, either, making a change or spitting lyrical fire, to help others in his situation and to inspire, a young kid, he'd still wear some gangster attire, he tried to watch his actions and not be a liar, and I know you'd expect this kid to be a criminal, but before you judge someone don't be as cynical, cause you see, this picture I painted just couldn’t be, because the child in that story… that child is me.

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