Does society marginalise youth, who have been in state care in New Zealand, through an unspoken expectation that they will transition into adulthood via the welfare or judicial systems? Damyon New, a New Zealand youth has shared his story in an interview with 20/20 (20/20, 2012), of living through marginalisation and attempting to avoid becoming another statistic. The system failed him both at school and in care and due to a lack of communication between agencies and marginalisation by society was unable to change his negative patterns of social action and interaction, resulting in him living on the streets.
This is highlighted in White and Wyn (2004, p. 11) suggests, “The systematic marginalisation of young people (and their communities) is marked by the disintegration of connections with mainstream social institutions (such as school and work), and a tenuous search for meaning in an uncaring and unforgiving world”. Fortunately, for Damyon, having hit rock bottom and labelled as an angry, aggressive, non-committal young man he found a family to call his own, that gave him support and the knowledge of what real family is like, for the first time in his life.
This love and support helped Damyon to tackle the issues he faced from being marginalised as a youth. Damyon now has a dream to build an accommodation house in a youth hub, to provide shelter for the homeless. He is changing societies view of in state care children and youth, by overcoming the boundaries and struggles he faced. He is challenging what society deems normal for him and others and giving hope to the future of New Zealand’s youth. As I watched his interview, I saw a focused determined young adult pushing past the negative perception of what the media and society portray of the ‘at risk’ youth.