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    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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