Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Girls

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Mark 9:35-37

If you haven't read my post about my new series, please go there first! I think my snuggie update upstaged it.

Everyone with me now? You went and watched my video and the ramblings with it? Ok. I started writing the stories of some of the children in the video and I couldn't stop. Then I sat and tried to figure out which ones to cut and which ones to keep. Wouldn't want it be too long...blah blah blah. But how do you say one child's story is more important or more typical than another? You can't. There is no one generic face of poverty. There are millions, each with their own story. Here are 9 stories of girls in the video. I'll get to the boys next time. And then I'll probably do some reflecting about the whole thing after that, because I don't want to leave you emotionally stranded without hope. But right now I'm just trying to get the facts down and present a realistic picture about the kids, which is hard because I'm totally biased because I love 'em. Don't be fooled, though! There were many days that made me want to pull my hair out at the youth center. :) So today, simply meet some of the girls today and just get to know them.

***

Talita was born in the southern part of the U.S. All I know about her dad is that he is not in her life. Her mom was homeless much of her young life and she moved around a lot with Talita and her two brothers. Talita came to Indiana a couple years ago to live with her extended family. Her family members have had severe health problems and have been in the hospital several times in the past couple of years. Talita has behavior issues. She had to repeat kindergarten. She craves adult attention, especially male. She is 6.

Talita has developed her own unique style. Talita is smart. Talita has a fabulous imagination.

***

Sasha was born to teenage parents who went to the youth center when THEY were kids. She is the oldest of 4 siblings, and is almost a mother figure to the others. A couple years ago, her mother abducted her and they disappeared. She was exposed to some terrible situations in urban America. Her dad eventually was able to contact her and found a way to get her back to Indiana, but life here has been hard as well. Sasha got back together with her old boyfriend when she returned. He is the best thing in her world to her. She is pregnant. She is 16.

Sasha creates wonderful artwork and poetry. Sasha is way more organized than I am. Sasha is smarter than most CEOs.

***

Destiny has lived in Indianapolis most of her life. She has one older brother and three younger sisters. Her mom is a single parent who works as an aid in a nursing home. Destiny is very angry for one who is so young. She gets in fights. She bullies. Destiny is 10.

Destiny gets straight A's. Destiny is funny. Destiny is a natural leader. Destiny is a really good roller skater.

***

Anna has lived all her life in Terre Haute but has attended many elemetary schools. Sometimes she lives with her mom. Sometimes she lives with her grandma. Sometimes she lives with other extended family. Her dad has been in jail for awhile. She misses him a lot. She is 10.

Anna is a very well behaved child. Anna loves computers. Anna loves the Disney channel.

***

Belinda has lived all her life in Terre Haute. She lives with her single mom and older brother. They move around a lot. Many times they live without heat, running water, or furniture. Her brother gets in a lot of trouble, but she usually stays out of trouble. She is very bitter for being so young and she's hard to talk to. Belinda is 12.

Belinda is an avid reader. Belinda is quiet. Belinda is loyal.

***

Kim has lived all her life in Terre Haute. She is one of a number of siblings...6 or 7? I'm not sure. Her mom has substance abuse problems and I'm not sure if her dad is her real dad or a step dad. There is usually some shortage in their house of proper food or clothing. Kim works the system to her advantage constantly because that is how she has been taught to survive. Kim is 12.

Kim is hands down a brilliant girl. Kim is very passionate for good causes and excels in extracurricular activities. Kim is sarcastic. Kim loves to go to church.

***

Kaley has lived in Terre Haute all her life. She is an only child and lives with her single mom. She is "spoiled" compared to most of the kids at the youth center because her extended family makes sure she has some nice things. She has lost her home twice due to natural disasters. Her dad promises things and doesn't follow through on them. Kaley is 15.

Kaley is a good dancer. Kaley likes to teach things to younger children. Kaley is good at voicing her opinions.

***

Sarah has lived in Terre Haute most of her life. Her dad used to be in the military and her mom is disabled. Sarah was home schooled. Sarah started working a full time job as soon as she could to help her family. Sarah's family lives in a government housing complex. Sarah is 17.

Sarah passed her GED and now goes to community college. Sarah has great taste in movies and music. Sarah is a leader on her church's quiz bowl team.

***

Simone has lived in Gary and Terre Haute. She has many siblings (full/half/step) in a house much smaller than mine. Her dad was in prison for violence and drug charges. Her mom works at a hospital. Simone is 8.

Simone is a good singer. Simone loves crafts. Simone is patient.

5 comments:

Helen said...

Thank you for sharing their stories.

sherri said...

Beth, I will come back to read these - I have to go- but I'm glad you posted about these girls. Be back later tonight!

katdish said...

How do you not become overwhelmed with the enormity of it all? I would want to fix everything, knowing that only God can fix things, we just have to be the hands and feet. Thanks for sharing their stories. I look forward to hearing about the boys.

sherri said...

Beth, is there a way we could send letters of encouragement to them, or things they might enjoy, through you?

FOr the Smart CEO type girl and the on that loves computers,and the creative ones, I wonder if blogging, or posting things they have written/created would benefit them?

It would be a great skill for them, that would maybe lead to something else- if nothing else, just a boost for their self-esteem.

* I used to work with kids with theis same type home life, history, and my heart goes out to them, and to the workers who are caring for them.
God bless all of you!

Beth said...

I'm going to have a wrap-up post about all the stuff the youth center does, not being overwhelmed, and things along that line...

but first I have to write about the boys!!