Every single time it happens I take it personally. I cannot help it, nothing about this work is anything less than personal. Deeply personal. I cannot prove to a child that he is worthy of love if I cannot love him. Programs do not change people…it is us who inspire, guide, and love that convince a child that they are worth more than the crappy hand they’ve been dealt in this life. As Fef’s song says, “real recognize real”. I know it works. I’ve seen it work. And so I love them, invest my time and energy and money in them – as many as I can and still run this agency proper.
But then they steal from you and people think I’m crazy for hurting for it. It drives K crazy. Like when the cops found the loaded pistol stashed in the office couch and I was furious and embarrassed and hurt. It was LOADED with a bullet in the CHAMBER on the couch where we sit, kids sit, baby’s sleep. K says “Miss, why you so upset?! You know WHO WE ARE!”
As if we can never be anything more than what we’ve become.
He thinks I set myself up for hurt all the time. And I do. You cannot work with gang members and expect a church choir. I am not stupid, I’ve been doing this for over 10 years. But everyone else expects them to be shit and that’s exactly what they get from them.
OK so I get some guns stashed and some computers stolen. I guess in the big picture I ain’t doing too bad. Cuz you see, I got some diplomas out of them, an occasional change of heart and some real honest work too. And trust me, that is a lot.
What kills me is going to work tomorrow and looking into each smiling face and wonder who stole from me.