Thursday, September 29, 2005

Those who have lived life make the best writers...

An incredible article from the Chicago Tribune which is actually more of a compilation of pieces from graduates of the Illinois foster care system. The article is well-written, but what makes it incredible are the included works from the young folks themselves:

Memoirs give voice to injured children
Stories of violence, hunger and despair offer insights into life as a foster child


You might need to register at the Trib to see the article. Here are some excerpts from the writers:

[My godmother] gave me a letter, twenty dollars and dropped me off at the DCFS office. ... I was only thirteen and didn't know what was in store for me. ... I grabbed my trash bags and headed down the elevators. "Is this all you have?" the caseworker asked. ... I cursed her, I cursed [my godmother], I cursed God. ...

Lindsey Bryant, 19


I was sad when my grandmother left. I was stuck here with this strange woman. I began to adjust as time went on. On my 8th birthday I got a bicycle and I learned how to ride my bike. I started to like living there. I call my foster mother mom now.

Thadison

One man grabbed my legs and tried to drag me away. I caught hold of the light pole and held on for dear life. I was screaming to all the other kids to go get my mom. They all rushed down the street to pound on my door. When porch lights came on and parents started to look out, they released me. ... To my great surprise, my foster mother put me on punishment and tried to make me do extra chores. I was so angry. How stupid can someone be?

The experience taught me lessons. Adults who are in charge of you can be the most dangerous people in life.

Childers

This is what happens in a democratic society where everyone has a voice. It's not learning to writing persuasive essays that makes your writing imporant--it's your unique life experiences and that you can share them with others.

Those who romanticize being poor and push for programs to hurt kids in these situations need to read these accounts. Everyone is entitled to their own political ideology, but we shouldn't be allowed to harbor and act upon it in a vacuum. We must listen to the stories of all of those who live in our society if we are really planning on improving it for the future. How can we hope to get anywhere if we don't know where we are at?

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