Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 38 > Page 25 - A Social Worker Visits Cape Breton, 1925

Page 25 - A Social Worker Visits Cape Breton, 1925

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1 (1255 reads)
 

About a quarter mile from the main street with its only sidewalk and attractions, lie the colliery districts, where are encamped the ten thousand min? ers' families. Around each mine live the colony of workers employed in it. Each colliery section is near enough to the other to make up a compact town group. Now, when a group of people congregate and form themselves into a town group with a town council, and work unceasingly for over thirty years to pro? duce the wealth of their land, one expects to find at least the beginnings of civilized organized life, with its attendant comforts and culture. But in Glace Bay what do we find? First of all there are no streets in any accepted meaning of the word. There are simply chunks of road, with rows and rows of wooden huts on either side. There are no sidewalks to mark off the ditches. There are no street lamps to light up the night darkness. No trees can grow in that soil, and a bit of green is a rarity. The scene then al? ways is the dark, uneven, lumpy road, the rows of box-like huts, the mine tressel in the distance, smoke stacks, smoky skies, crude fencings, and rug? ged, stern, bare, sea cliffs. In the early spring it rains a good deal, and the atmosphere is clammy, foggy, drizzly, with raw, bitterly cold, ice-drift winds. Second, the company owns the several hundred houses in which are housed the goodly several thou? sand miners' families. These houses were built cheaply and quickly, with a view to hurried, raw, camp life for bachelors. If these bachelors took wives unto themselves, and if children came to them, it is their lookout! Nobody cares. The houses are all of the same proportion, style and cheap lumber. Each house is of eight or nine rooms, divided by a thin wooden partition into two parts, and is called a "double" house. In each part of four rooms one or two families live, no matter how large. Each shack is a straight up-and-down affair, painted a dull slate color originally, and is now a muddy-dirt hue. On the inside the rooms are di? vided off by a single-coat of plaster or wooden wall, and give one a "jack-in-the-box" feeling of closeness. There are no porches; from the low wood? en single doorstep, or no door-step, one walks in on the family to the kitchen or bedroom. The houses are rarely repaired. If a miner wants his home to look decent for his growing children, he buys paint and paper and the whole family set to ,work to decorate it. If the plaster crumbles, or if the floor cracks, it remains so for years. If a door breaks, or a window shatters, it is stuffed up with rags. If a chimney is broken, the family is smoked up for a time. If the walls, the floor or the windows are draughty, and the cold INDUSTRIAL CAPE BRETON YOUTH JOB CORPS "Sponsored By The Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade' ABOUT THE JOB CORPS... The Goal instruction that is most ap- The Job Corps is a program designed to address ttie ma? jor l>aniers ttiat severely re? strict young adults from suc- cessfully finding and retraining employment. The Industrial Cape Breton Youth Job Corps will provide an employment preparation pro? gram for disadvantaged youth in the Industrial Cape Breton area that is paricularly effective for those who have not been successful in more traditional learning environ? ments. The Program The program will be delivered in 3 training cycles a year, each lasting approximately 4 months and t)eing delivered to 16 participants per cycle. Instruction will be delivered through the Pl'TO com? puter-based learning system supplemented by text and audio-visual material. Partici? pants progress through in? structional material at their own pace, receiving assis? tance in selecting the path of propriate to their needs. Referrals Candidates for the program wiH be refen-ed by the Can? ada Employment Centre (ap- pficants from other sources will be directed to the C.E.C. office for registration). Entrance Criteria Tne entrance criteria for this program are: • Applicant must be between ttie ages of 18 and 24; • Applicant must have com? pleted grade 8 but no more than grade 12 and no post high school training; • Applicant must be willing to participate in an intense and individualized 4 month program; • Applicant must be unem? ployed; • Applicant must be out of school for one year; • Applicant must express an interest in obtaining and re? taining employment. PROGRAM COMPONENTS The Job Corps Program in? cludes the following compo? nents: Academic Upgrading: Par? ticipants will receive instruc? tion in Basic and High School Skills through the PLATO learning system. Life Sidiis: Life skill training will assist participants in coping with emotional, so? cial and financial issues that may present barriers to successful employment. Partrcipants will be assisted in selecting courses appro? priate to their needs. Job Searcii Training: This program provides instruc? tion and practice 'n the techniques of self-directed job search to assist partici? pants in obtaining employ? ment for themselves. Orientation: Vocational guidance, group support, work experience and place? ment assistance are also provided for participants of Job Corps. AN EDUCATIONAL ALTERNATIVE FOR EMPLOYMENT PREPARATION r'O' INDUSTRIAL CAPE BRETON vSff'YOUTH JOB CORPS 'J lL-' 2fi9 Chariotte St • Sydney 539-2630 wind comes in, then the family simply catches cold. And so the writer wit? nessed countless homes, which remain dark and dismal, the plaster crumbling from walls and ceilings; the floors cracked and draughty; the windows low and stairways unsteady--children pale and coughing. There are no bathrooms or running wa? ter facilities in the houses. The toi? let is a dry box a few feet from the kitchen or bedroom. Few houses have e- lectricity; when wanted, it is in? stalled by the miner. Only in recent years have they been able to obtain tap water in the houses. The miner dug for it, and after due negotiations be? tween the men and the company, the company refunded for the pipe used. There are no provisions for sanita? tion; there are no drains or sewers in the colliery districts. Most of the homes have cesspools dug by the miner. . Almost all have overflown, and every? where one sees a lead pipe extending from the kitchen sink (made of tin or dishpan), and the sink refuse constantly

CONTINUED ON PAGE 47 PLAY The Game of Sydney" A Board Game for All Ages A Game like "Monopoly," But You Buy and Sell Sydney Businesses and Services $19.95 At Zeller's, Simpson's, and Big Brothers, 455 Prince Street, Sydney Order by mail, or phone 539-5660. FUN FOR YOU AND EXCELLENT SUPPORT FOR Big Brothers of Cape Breton County
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