Community Ledge #6: Ruaidhri Guest
You might think that at 16, Ruaidhri Guest hasn’t had enough time to become a legend. But when you get involved in the community in primary school, standing up against bullying, it gives you a head start.
His concern for the less fortunate is a credit in someone so young.
We also have a commitment to diversity in our choice of Community Ledge and youth is part of that diversity. Not only that but we are looking for people who have an interesting story to tell and we hope that you find this one inspiring.
As a 16-year-old, Ruiadhri has yet to face some of the struggles
that come with age so we hope he will be able to enjoy one of our sponsor’s famous pies without concern for his waistline!
There’s a lot of deprivation in Hastings. Is this something you noticed while growing up?
I’ve always seen homeless people everywhere. When growing up, I visited my gran a lot and she always stopped to talk to the homeless who have also helped her with her shopping and dog.
What are your memories of primary school?
I started in a primary school that didn’t treat me so well. I was bullied for what I liked, who I was, my aspirations and everything nonstop. My experience there has defined me in a way; I went on to protest about the matter and my bad experience has made me want to stop anyone else suffering what I did. As a result, the school implemented anti-bullying techniques and awareness.
How did things change for you when you went to secondary school?
Well, for one, my dress sense. I was known for my wacky dress sense and opening the doors for everyone. I must admit it was a slow start but years 10 and 11 were some of the best years of my life. I protested here and there about issues in my school – especially in Year 9 about education cuts to the studio school. The school was a community, everyone knew everyone. My teachers taught me a lot about life and my previous librarian, my history teacher and English teacher really helped me with my confidence.
You seem to have a sense of community. Where did you pick this up?
As I mentioned, my secondary school felt like a community, but growing up in Hastings was a big factor. I love this community and I try to get involved any way I can which is why I became the local carnival king to take part in community events. I try to do as much as I can and intend on doing a lot in the future.
You’ve mentioned that you are concerned about the homeless in Hastings. More unusually you talk to them. What have you learned from that?
My concern for the homeless started since I was little: everywhere I go there are vulnerable human beings who have been mistreated or ignored. There are fakes out there, but the actual homeless population are genuine human beings; we live on the same oxygen, speak the same languages. I have learnt from listening to people: only recently I talked to a homeless couple who want to get married. They told me their story about how they found love and how they became homeless, how they are being beaten up for views online, concrete tossed at their tent mercilessly for nothing. They taught me so much about how they are treated, that love finds a way. I won’t go into detail, but their story taught me a lot and inspires me to help the homeless every day.
How did your family affect your views?
I live with a politically active family who are socialists and, like me, believe in a better world.
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