Thursday, October 27, 2011
I try to focus on the great things, that makes me powerful in my job.  I see kids that range from having very little to almost nothing.  It is hard work, it is rewarding work but more than any of those, it is necessary work.  I have met some of the most incredible people with the most incredible children that have survived things I only see in my nightmares.  And yet they live....

Today was one of those days for me when I concentrate on the good in a sea of harshness.  Two things happened that I want to reflect on.  I went to the homecoming game for the middle school that I work for.  It was incredible.  The boys were on the court like professionals, in uniform and working as a team!  From the outside you would not know that they were struggling, inner city kids that live in the hardest conditions in one of the hardest cities in the US.  The team beat the other team 36 to 22.  It was beautiful to watch and I was so proud to be a part of supporting hope to these kids.  

In the rush and excitement of the game, I went to say hello to the kids on the team.  It took me a couple of minutes after the kids came out of the huddle to realize what they were doing.  The boys (excited and smiling) were taking off their shoes to return to others because they don't have their own basketball shoes.  They were borrowing shoes to wear with their uniforms.  It hurt my heart.  

Such talent, such heart, such resilience.... such poverty, such disparity, such sadness.  

After the game I was talking to one of my student.  He was basically one of the MVP's of this game and was beaming.  He wanted me to meet his mom and she was very pleasant.  We all went outside and I heard my name in the distance, "Ms. Crystal!!"  I turned around to see one of my old students from 3 years ago.  She is now in the 11th grade.  I hugged her, asked how she was and I truely felt joy in my heart!!

She tells me about her life and school and says, "that's my brother over there!".  I looked over to see her speaking of my student that I was just referring to, the MVP.  Right after she said that, the mother said, "yeah, that is my other kid".  I was floored as this sunk in.  I have been a counselor to both of these kids, siblings, in the last 3 years and never made the connection.  How crazy is it to work in a community where I continue to treat siblings and the pain is so deep, so entrenched. 

I hope to be around to support generations of kids coming through the doors of this community.  I love that I have been a consistent face that they can come and see and I am still there.  I am humbled that I have the chance to be that very person that has the trust of so many kids who struggle with trusting others.  I am humbled.....

And while I was heart broken to see this student take off the shoes he had on after his winning game, his sister (my old student) was a reminder that there is still hope despite disparity and adversity.  One day, he might just have the rights to own his own pair of shoes.





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Hubbie and I

Hubbie and I

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