Friends of the Children

Hello blog world! I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere, I recently returned from an incredible rafting trip down the Colorado River, through one of our country’s most spectacular national parks–Grand Canyon. The vacation was great and I enjoyed the time with my family on the river.

Just before I left on vacation, I visited Friends of the Children – King County, a mentoring organization for vulnerable children in our area. Friends works because it identifies children in need of mentorship at an early age and pairs them with a long-term mentor, called a ‘Friend,’ who meets and spends at least four hours per week with them every week until they graduate high school. During my visit, I met some amazing young people who are already doing powerful things with their lives.

During my visit, the folks at Friends of the Children shared a spoken-word poem composed by one of the young people involved there, Aaliyah. While I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Aaliyah in person, she gave me the OK to reprint her poem here which I wanted to share because it was a moving account of what it is like to struggle in school and how a friend can help weather the storm.

IF I COULD SPEAK

Everybody’s everywhere
Laughing
Listening to music
And the teachers throwing a temper tantrum in the corner

I feel as if I want to get up
And sock everybody
To see a little bit of red from all of them
But I sit in the corner being quiet
Watching them
Wondering how I’m gonna get a passing grade
When I can’t learn?
How am I gonna pass the MSP?
The MAPS test?

Another teacher comes in
To tell us we’re being too loud
It’s embarrassing
Sometimes I wish I could be the teacher
So I could tell who to stay
And who to go

Sometimes I wanna get up
And tell them what they’re doing.
What are they going to do when they have to go home
And face their parents about their grade?
Like I have to,
When I go home
Everybody’s on my case about it
Because they want me to succeed.

I put my head down on the table
Pull both my fists back in anger
Like two volcanoes
Ready to erupt
My heart throbbing
Why can’t I do something about it?
Why can’t I say what I feel?
Like a tornado in my head
Confusing me
Making me angry
Giving me the biggest headache in the world

If I could speak
I would hurt everybody’s feelings
Telling the truth is hard
My action has a reaction
They’ll give attitude
Talk behind your back
Make up anything they can about you.

I go to find a friend
And when I tell her what I feel
Everything is lifted off my shoulders

I feel renewed
Just happy to tell somebody
I go back to class
Lighter

I just wish it would change someday
And maybe
Someday it will.

 

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