Monday, December 8, 2008
Need your help!
I worked at Washington Elementary school for 3 years before I had Kennedy. Washington is the school where all of the homeless shelter children attend. While working there, I was able to become close with many of those children. I genuinely cared about them and wished that I could do more for them. For the next couple of weeks, I would like to tell some stories of some of interactions I had with these children. I also would like to send a call out for help from all of you who live in this area. The road home (which is the shelter in Salt Lake) is in need of blankets, pillows, toys, games, books, gift wrap, clothing and baby items for this holiday season. Since it is really cold out and we finally got some snow, the shelter is packed with people (including children and babies) who are trying to get out of the cold. I would love to get together as much stuff as I can and take it to the road home. Please let me know if you would like to donate what you have. I will even come and pick it up! Either e mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call me and I will come and get what you have.
The first story I would like to share is of a little girl named Kiara. She was such a cute little 6 year old girl, but she had built such a wall around her, and for good reason. She had grown up in and out of the homeless shelter. She knew how to stick up for herself which is something that she apparently had to do a lot. She knew more about life than a 6 year old should. She had heard about drugs, prison and even sex. I always had a great interest in her and her life. I wanted to be a good influence in her life...someone she could talk to. While we were coloring one afternoon, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said "I want to be a doctor...or a singer...but I am a good artist too, so maybe that." I reminded her that she could be whatever she wanted to be if she worked hard at it. She then said to me "I will work hard, because I don't want to live at the 32 room mansion anymore." Caught off guard I said "What? What is the 32 room mansion?" She told me that it was the homeless shelter but that she hated calling it that because she did not want any of the other kids to know that she lived there. It was so sad to me that a 6 year old girl was already aware enough to be ashamed about where she lived. We talked all the time after school about how she wanted to visit Disneyland but knew that would never happen, and about how her parents were never around. It came to the point where she wanted to stay in during recess and talk to me rather than go out to play. I think that she liked talking to someone who actually listened to her and believed in her. The last I talked to her was on the last day of the summer school program in 2007. I don't know what happened to her or her family, but I really hope that she does go to college and get out of the situation that she grew up in. Sadly, most of these children do not.
Remembering these children makes me grateful for the family that I was born into. I am thankful for a roof over our heads, food to eat and bedding and warm clothes for us and our child. I just wish that I had enough extra to give more often. I want to give what I can now!