Monday, January 02, 2006

the lost child

as i have spent the last 4 months working with these kids i have come to notice that those who succeed generally (not always) have a stable, loving does not matter how many parents are there, whether or not the kid works, what sort of neighborhood they live in. there is a young man i teach who lives with his grandmother, he works every day after school to help pay the household bills, he plays football, and he tries super hard to make his way through each day because that little old lady will kick his ass, because she loves him. now there is a girl in the exact same class that breaks my heart every time i see her...she is who i would like to talk about today.

a junior, not brilliant by any means, but sweet, hard working, pretty, and a solid basketball player. in fact it is basketball and the support network that surrounds it that has been helping her through high school. the coach got her all the tutoring she could ever dream of last season, this season he and i helped to organize study skills and methods for her, she became my little mentee. this girl loved basketball, so much so that she went so far as to have her number tattoo-ed on her arm in a basketball. she does not have a stable home life. her mother is not well mentally, to such a degree that she cannot (or will not) work. as mom doesn't work, grammy (who is just as nuts as mom and lives in NJ) pays the rent. i am still not sure where food comes from, i know that it regularly does not actually show up, i know that this girl doesn't get regular meals. from what i understand, though this little family is eligible for some form of government assistance, mom wants nothing to do with it (which i don't understand), at one point during my time helping this girl we talked about her options, about what she would lose if she gave up basketball in favor of working, or quitting school to have babies. it is amazing that she hadn't thought about in terms of what her participation in sports were doing for her, her coaches force mandatory study halls to get through their homework (certainly something that she would not find at a job or in parenthood). the thing is that i think that the nutty mom (who on some days i wonder about if she is abusing her child in at least an emotional way) is trying and succeeding in forcing her daughter to give up basketball in favor of work. i asked her today why...her only answer "i just can't anymore miss h, i just can't." now realize that mom was standing in the background during that little phone conversation. i am going to talk to her again/more tomorrow. i need to see if she really is giving up what i thought she loved, if she is giving it up because she WANTS to, or because she is being FORCED to. that is the thing that would break my heart, to think that a parent would destroy her child chances at a stable future in this way.

enough for now, i will update on this if/when i get answers.
miss h


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