Forfatter billede
1 Work 12 Members 1 Review

Værker af Vicki Sokolik

Satte nøgleord på

Almen Viden

There is no Common Knowledge data for this author yet. You can help.



If You See Them by Vicki Sokolik is a look at one woman's work to help the many unhoused young people in the country, starting locally and spreading the word nationally.

While the emphasis is on the young people, largely high school age, who have been helped it is also a bit of a memoir. I think the best thing about including her background is to highlight both what a single admittedly privileged person can do to help as well as to illustrate the many things so many of us take for granted as part of growing up in a country that is among the richest in the world. That definition, though, is misleading with the number of people living below the poverty line and all but ignored by those better off and the government "of the people."

I saw one person horribly mislabel this as "white saviorism." First of all, the term, particularly in common usage, is synonymous with white paternalism. At the heart of that is a belief that those helped are somehow objectively something less than those helping. The second aspect is that it is race or ethnicity driven, thus the "white" adjective. Sokolik helps young people, regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. Second, she readily acknowledges that part of what she does is for herself, to make her feel better about herself, to feel she is living up to the kind of person she wants to be. 100% altruism doesn't exist, but many people act like their acts are just that. Sokolik doesn't. And third, her view of those she helps isn't of helping second class citizens but of helping those whose circumstances have put insurmountable, without help, obstacles in their way. If you believe that compassionate humanitarianism is the same as saviorism, feel free, but know you're misusing the term.

I liked that the people were given a platform for their own voice rather than strictly Sokolik telling us what happened. In some cases it highlighted lessons she learned, both about how best to help and about herself as a person. Over the course of the book, which means over the course of the years she has been doing this, I had the feeling she has grown and changed as much as those helped by her and her organization. So I guess, while this served as a bit of a call to action (my little bit has been to tutor at community centers at places I've lived), it was also a moving memoirish work as well.

Highly recommended for those unfamiliar with the number of children and young people who fall between the cracks of the system, most of the time because of the system but sometimes simply because the help that might be available is never communicated to those who need it. Also a nice read for those who know of an issue that needs attention in their community, whether a different one or not, and might want some inspiration for trying to find solutions when it seems like only roadblocks.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
… (mere)
pomo58 | Oct 11, 2023 |


½ 4.5