A note from our founder:
Today I found out that one of my students had tried to commit suicide. She is now at a children’s psychiatric center on Long Island, and will remain there until the spring. She has no home to go to, as her parents do not want to deal with her and have kicked her out of the house. She is sixteen and lives with her best friends family.
Five minutes later, another student, lets call him Edward, gave me his writing assignment. The prompt was:
“What do you think makes a good parent?”
The first line of his writing piece, “A good parent doesn’t do drugs, or sell drugs, or put their child before drugs. Mine did all three.”
He went on to tell me about how his mother used to pass out in the bathroom, and how he’d find her, slumped over, with the needle on the floor and the belt still strapped around her arm. Both of his parents are heroin addicts, and they started using about four years ago when his baby brother passed away. These parents told their child, (my student), who was only THIRTEEN at the time, that they were trying to kill themselves because they couldn’t deal with the pain. Edwards father is in jail, and will be for…awhile. His mother is in a court mandated rehab facility, and CPS will never let her see her children. Edward lives with his grandmother, and has to take care of his two younger siblings. He told me that he can’t think of school when he has to take care of them.I hear stories like this EVERYDAY. I could write a book. As many of you know, I’ve written a play, and it’s in further production. Hopefully it will give a voice to these stories, and hopefully it’ll start to put the breaks on this awful cycle of drugs that is just plaguing schools and families across the country.But that’s not enough…it’s just not enough.The school where I work is doing what it can, believe me, but it’s just not enough. My kids need more. They just do. Just today they were asking me if teaching “them”, was what I wanted, did I want a “real” teaching job, (they mean an actual salary & the cushy benefits, things I am not privy to at the moment)…I’ll tell you what I tell them, I would never want to teach anyone else. But I want to give you (them) more.So, my idea. Well, it’s cookin’. It’s brewin’. And I will update you all real, real soon.What you can know now, well, is that I want to go beyond just good enough. I want my girls who are mothers to GO TO SCHOOL, not work at the local supermarket because they have to worry about diapers. I know they have to work, but I want them to go after what they WANT. I want all of my students to go away to college and find their dreams, and not worry about taking care of their siblings and cleaning up their parents MESSES. I want them to turn to the arts & writing & athletics before they even have a chance to run to drugs to escape from their problems and personal hell. That is what I want.