Feature Friday with Marcus
Now an alumni, Marcus was a Fed member for ten years. He got involved through the Prince George local and spent some time on the youth council.
"I am so honored that you [Shannon] are doing this. I am so glad that you found us and are able to help, please don’t ever feel like your work isn’t valued. If it wasn’t for people supporting us and the youth in and from care. A very special thank you to Colleen, she has done what I always wished I could do. She has given so much to the Federation and I want her to be recognized for that. I can only hope that the new young people can do things even greater than we did. It is now their time." - Marcus
When did you become a member and then alumni of the Fed?
Member for a very long time, approximately around the age of 14-15. Involved for the entire 10 years until I aged out.
How did you hear about the Fed and why did you decide to join?
A lot of happenstance. I was in a foster home in the Prince George area and I met people from the local. I got to know them and met some folks from the Fed. Really inspired me – and I thought, I need in on this, I want to be involved with this. The rest, as they say is, history. It was a time when I really, really needed it. I was very much alone and even though I was very open with people about being a person with CP and in foster care, it felt very different being a person who was in foster care. I am sort of an open book, if you have a question I will answer it. Even with that it was still a lonely time. There was always that fear that I would be treated differently as a child from care, and I happen to be different in more than just way because of the CP and what not.
What is your favourite Fed memory?
Honestly to do this question justice I would have to give a list of events. I think one of the most poignant moments was when I was hanging out with a dude by the name of Claire, and Ryan and they in spite of the fact that it was a long climb and a bit of a trek they helped me up this extremely tall waterslide. I think for me that was the most poignant moment when I realized that I have truly been welcomed to this community. These total strangers that hardly new me, or knew me a bit, were so open and willing to help me be included. And I just want to emphasize that I have many, many moments like this, but you have asked to talk specifically about one? I was not expecting it. I was looking around and enjoying the park for what I could access, and I thought I would love to go down this particularly big slide. I am a thrill nut and love waterslides and roller coasters. They put their arms over my neck and arms around my legs and fire man carried up all of those steps, and I think they did it twice.
How has being involved in the Fed impacted your life?
Well, this period of my life was the moment when I truly felt like I had the power to truly make positive change. I spent two terms on the youth council and being involved with the organization really helped me come out of my shell. It helped me define my inner knight, and inner warrior. Allowed me to truly stand up for myself, even if I don’t succeed at certain things I can always think back to the days when I was at the height of my own personal self-esteem and it all came from this organization and the amazing organization. The fed is truly needed in this day in age. With agencies being cut– at the very least the young people coming after me still have the advocacy and the group of the people who know what they are going through and can help them try at the very least to get them where they need to be.
Do you have any advice for young people thinking about getting involved with the Fed?
The best advice know a days that I could offer is, in essence, what do you have to lose? What is the harm in having the chance to build community? What is the harm in learning about the things that are out there that can help you grow and support you as you age out? Just because someone ages out doesn’t mean doesn’t mean they stop being a part of the community. You won’t know if you don’t try, so please try.
What advice do you have for the Fed to make its next 25 years even better?
Just as I was about to age out I had a generational collision with another young person. I had to take it in stride because I was aging out. It was my time to leave. My advice would be no matter how much things may change, if we as an organization hold true to what brought us all together in the first place, we can’t be stopped. Don’t be afraid to love yourselves and other people. At the very core that’s what this organization should be about. If young people have a hard time loving themselves, the best way they can learn is by being shown what being loved is like. I remember the incident very well. It was at an SCM and the young man was trying to turn the Fed into more of a business. For me it was a sign of me getting old. It was a disaster to me, you don’t want to that. I still kind of feel that way. If you only see it as a business then I don’t think you can really hold onto the empathy. This is an area where empathy is a must. My advice is really important. This includes any new young people that have joined the Federation and all staff.
It will never matter how old I get, what changes in my life. I will always love the Fed, and everyone in it. Even if we never meet you will always have a friend in me.