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My life as a poverty activist and writer

by Kendall Worth

Kendall Worth, poverty activist and frequent contributor to the Halifax Media Co-op, on why he fights injustice. Photo Robert Devet
Kendall Worth, poverty activist and frequent contributor to the Halifax Media Co-op, on why he fights injustice. Photo Robert Devet
KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – I am a poverty activist. I used to write for and sell Street Feat until they went out of business. Now I write for the Media Co-op about poverty issues. For the past 6 years I have served on the board of directors for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network. 

In other words, I like to keep busy.

The reason why I do all of the above started back in my days of being a teenager. As a kid I was diagnosed with a learning disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and later on with Impulse Control Disorder.

Doing all these things gives me structure in my day. Having structure is the answer to most of your mental stresses you experience in day to day life.

A lot of people who are in my situation, who are on income assistance, show no interest in wanting to have structure in their day. I cannot see myself being a person living my day to day life having no reason not to wake up in the morning.

Keeping busy also shows you can still be productive, even if you cannot hold down a full time job.

Later in life I developed an interest in wanting to advocate for reducing poverty, and wanting my own situation to get better.

One thing I did is that I have made attempts to expand on my writing opportunities and this is why I originally joined the Halifax Media Co-op.

The only time I ever see as story about poverty is basically when it is a politician talking about poverty. From my experience not many media outlets are interested in publishing first voice stories from those of us living in poverty.

At times in my life I have approached the Chronicle Herald with articles and they did not seem interested in looking at my work. The editor of the Coast never even got back to me.

I write about social assistance and poverty issues because it's the life I live. This has made me an expert on what needs to be done to reduce poverty.

Even though I have been on welfare for the past thirteen years, there was a time in my life when I was not on the ESIA system.

As a matter of fact, until I was somewhere in my twenties I got to experience what life before ESIA was like. Let's just say, at that point in my life I was quite a bit bit better off then I am now, even though my family was anything but rich.

When you are on income assistance you learn that there is a community of people who live on the system. That made me realize that I am not alone in dealing with the struggles of living on income assistance.

My dream of what I ever wanted to do in life was to run my own business. I had this dream from back when I was teenager.

I have had real hard times to hold any job I have had prior to selling Street Feat. Street feat was a newspaper written by people living in poverty.

In a nutshell, my job of selling Street feat was really a business, because my title was independent sales rep. I got to work my own hours and got paid by commission, meaning I got to keep $0.75 off every copy sold. I also got to choose my own sales territory.

Because selling the Street Feat was about poverty, I had also felt while selling that I was promoting something important to the community. Furthermore Street Feat helped me improve my writing skills because I got to write articles for that paper. The writing was done on a volunteer basis.

Writing for Street Feat and later the Halifax Media Co-op has opened other doors for me.

I joined poverty advocates groups, such as Community Advocates Network and the Poverty Collective. I became a part of those groups. I have also reached out to politicians. And finally, I became a member of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network. Later I became a board member of this organization.

A dream which I used to talk about in my past Street Feat articles was to someday own a business that employed persons with disabilities.

My dream is now to someday become a paid poverty advocate.

 

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