Sunday, March 23, 2008

omg (a.k.a. project update)

jenny, i'm pleased to inform you that "omg" sis the preferred response to any sort of story, statement, or event at the boys and girls club these days.

where to start? omg.

the havre de grace elementary variety show was a major success. there was no shortage of alicia keys, high school musical, double dutch, and popping & locking. omg. and the crank that move from soulja boy appeared in nearly every dance number although the students weren't allowed to actually do the soulja boy dance...

our project at the boys and girls club has been a stretch for me and i am really enjoying it. omg. as i become more aware of the circumstances in which many of my new friends are living, and the experiences they are having, it's really hard for me to accept that those are not the aspects of their lives in which i can make change. it has been doubly hard for me to discover that some of the things i do best - be a spaz & give hugs - are not necessarily what's most helpful or even allowed in my work right now. that said, something about me clumsily tossing around a football and continuously challenging people to one-on-one at the boys and girls club seems to communicate how sincerely i want their friendship.

work at the elementary school has been less of an adjustment. last week i started mentoring a 5th grade boy who has adhd and needs a bit of encouragement to stay on task. i pop in and out of his classes throughout the day to see how he's feeling, if he's getting his work done, and if he's staying out of trouble. he's very bright, works hard, and loves the extra attention. also, there are two brothers who recently moved to the school after a state-mandated custody change removed them from their parents' home. both boys have noticeable anger patterns and act out regularly. for whatever reason i've really taken to the older brother - a third grader who is such a mix of kid and not kid - one moment enthralled in a book about rainbow fish or asking me if he's too young to have a girlfriend, and the next moment describing in detail how he's going to kill his dog when he gets home. i keep thinking of you, jenny, because the school has a number of full-time staff who are trained to address the psychological and behavioral needs of their students.

amerilife is weird. omg. it really feels like an alternate universe. i live, work, and play with a small group of people who are my best friends on the east coast, but were strangers a month ago. we work with and care deeply about people who - for better or worse - we will leave in mid-april. i'd imagine it feels something like a full-time mission, but not having had that experience, it's hard to say.


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