Seth Thomas- Paetkau
I meet Seth Thomas-Paetkau at a downtown coffee shop. He works in an hour at a nearby grocery store. Despite his hectic schedule he happily made time to discuss what its like to be a young person living in Kingston. The 17 year-old KCVI student has lived here for nine years and jokingly says, “We moved here on April fool’s day”. Seth describes his athletic accomplishments and is a very athletic guy but as the conversation continues it’s easy to see that he is far from being just a jock. Seth explains that Kingston is awesome because, “It’s such a tight knit community, you can walk everywhere, and you don’t need a car to get around”. He echoes this sentiment by explaining how convenient it is to go to school downtown and be able to walk to work. When I ask Seth what’s the best part of being a young person in Kingston he replies, “Students, lots of students” and explains that Kingston has many high school and post-secondary institutions therefore it is easy to make new friends. We begin to discuss areas of improvement for Kingston. Seth comments that youth homelessness has been on his mind lately after an exchange trip to Yellowknife NWT opened his eyes to this issue. “Youth homelessness exists downtown (Kingston) but it’s more in the shadows not out in the open”. Seth shares a story of how he was on a lunch break from work and decided to take a walk. During this walk he came across a homeless person on the street and offered the person his recently purchased hot lunch. I commended him for his gesture and asked him who inspires him to do that type of thing. “My Nana” answers Seth. He goes on to recount often seeing strangers at dinner at his grandma’s place and stated that she would help anyone she could. “She taught me that,” he says. I ask Seth to talk about his recent trip to Yellowknife, NWT. Seth answers with eyes wide open and a big smile, “We (youth who participated) were fully involved, I got to bond with amazing people…it changed my life”. Seth describes the amazing adventures and emphasized that the host agency Side Door Youth Ministries had, “Such a cool setup. Pool table, foosball, couches… they definitely had young people in mind when they designed it”. When asked what he did when he returned from Yellowknife he said, “I called my grandma…then slept”. He explained that his grandma was very proud of him and told him that he was smart. Seth humbly comments, “That’s the classic grandma thing to say.