Friday, September 30, 2011

Miss Bonnie?

This week has been an interesting week. Its hard to think back to the beginning of the week! I have found myself in so many new things, new feelings, frustrations, good Lord I could go on for hours (but I don't want to be that person who blogs about every little ridiculous thing.. I hate that)

Next to our center was this big, beautiful church. But they tore it down. dumb. Anyways, there is this section where, I am guessing the basement was. Well the rubble has made this sort of cave looking thing. Yesterday, this woman came in. She lives in there with her abusive husband. She has 5 kids, they have been taken away by social services. A near by women's service have this whole plan in Kansas City (of all places eh). However, she needs to get there. She came to us for help in just ordering a ticket, in secret so that her husband doesn't find out. She said that she will have to "get the money first." I'll let you guess how she "gets her money." She went on to tell us a story about her and her life. The sisters of Precious Blood will be buying her ticket to Kansas City to start her life over so that she doesn't have to go, "get her money," and so that she can get away from her abusive husband...
This is where she was living.

I am now tutoring three people! One with math and basic English. Which I have to google multiple times looking up how to do things or what things are. He just sits there and laughs at me. Another with how to write speeches and a persuasive paper. (I HATE writing papers) So that's always fun. Thank God for I did listen and learn SOMETHING in high school English haha. The last is my biggest challenge. She is 26 years old. I am teaching her to read. She has a story that hits so many different issues and have already taught me so many things. She went to school until 8th ish grade, had her first kid at 14. I won't go into her personal story, but here's the different things that we talked about in the first meeting.

Many public schools (especially in Back of the Yards) pass kids to get them out of the school. You would think that reading would be at least some kind of a priority right? no. One of her sons is starting to have problems with reading and she can't help him, because she herself cannot read. She is trying to get some special attention for her son, because she doesn't want him to fall behind like she did. But the school does not provide after school help..... all he wants to do is read... really?

All this time she has wanted to ask for help. But has always been afraid, or people tell her she is dumb and stupid. She didn't think there were any services for, "people her age." Such as classes, she thought she was to old.... again, she is only 26.
1. I hate hearing stories about people that have no support in their life
         Fact: that's every day here
2. Why does she think that there are no services out there for people like her? There are so many!
         Fact: Why would she know? Its pretty hard to get the word out to people around here... and for them  to actually trust .... Trust is a whole other issue...

What kind of an atmosphere does she live in? Gangs. Gang bangers (yes... I totally did just say it... it is almost part of my everyday vocabulary these days).

She is an inspiration to me. Here she is, finally asking for help. Trying to better herself for her kids. She has slowly pushed her way out of what she does not want to be a part of. Yet, still lives in the midst of it all. I will learn from my experience with her... maybe even Spanish! Her hopes and dreams- to learn how to read, further move on to getting her GED, going to hair school...
Biggest aspiration: CNA/Nursing school.
My mission: being a part and doing whatever I can to help her accomplish
SOS... teachers out there please, please PLEASE give me some pointers on "teaching someone to read." (Dear Jesus)

Juvi-- I have officially been going for two weeks now. After this past Tuesday I was dying to go back on Thursday... weird ehh. I have slowly made friendships with some boys on the Omega units (these are the boys that are tried as a juvenile, but will only stay in this facility till they are 17. Then they are moved to the county jails to finish their time. Also, these are the boys that are sentenced for many years... If lucky just 2-5... but others 10-20-30 years..... you can decide what they are there for... I'll let you :)) I have found myself talking with these, boys taking notes on when their court dates are, making them explain "the system," to me (which they love because they totally think I'm this dumb white girl). I have also learned how to successfully play spades, (jail style, smashin it ect) I now know the difference between "people and folk," and new words have been added to my vocabulary. Oh and they call me Miss Bonnie.... ahah

I was talking to one of the boys about Hope. He was almost to tears/wouldn't make eye contact with me during this conversation because he had lost all hope.

"This place was built to destroy all hope, and all feelings I have ever had. Hope is nothing."
    -- Jail.

How am I supposed to rebound from that? Surprisingly... I came back with the wisest words that I have ever heard come out of my mouth... and it also bought me more time to figure out what to say the next time I went back (yesterday). He wanted to talk again. When I came back he was shocked that I actually came back. However, we had to postpone the convo for next week. The boys got in a fight in their unit and were locked into their cells... oh geeeeze what have I gotten myself into?

I could probably talk for hours about each of these things. I only touched on the "overview," of me week. But... this is just a little update on what I am up to. Wanna hear more... call me. I have zero plans for the weekend. As I head off into my weekend and still await the week ahead mentally preparing myself to teach someone to read, get a lady away from her "cave home" and from her abusive husband, and thinking about "hope."

Oh NO! I have become that person who writes about waaaaaay to much. Ehh at least I didn't tell you what I ate each day.

Good thing I have an app to find happy hours near by me :) 


  1. Bonnie, You are an inspiration! Keep up the good work!

  2. Hey guess what? I am a SPEECH teacher! My kids have to write and present a PERSUASIVE SPEECH at the end of each semester and I teach them how to do that....maybe I can help you with that part of your tutoring - I'll email you some stuff tomorrow.
    It is an unfortunate fact of many public school systems - sometimes kids get passed on because they fell behind early and weren't given the help they needed and they are now so far behind it's "easier" to pass them forward than it is to actually fix the problem. I have some students who have a very low reading level, but they got a passing grade for some unknown reason and now they are high school students reading at a first grade's a tough position to be in as an educator and an incredibly frustrating position to be in as a student. The best advice I can give you is to start and the beginning, don't assume anything about their education level, and just keep plugging away with a positive attitude - as lost and frustrated as you might get, know that the student is more lost and frustrated than you are.
    Be the sunshine in their lives!

  3. to start reading, you must know what the consonants and vowels sounds like. then you start blending the sounds together. there are "sight words" which are words that you should just be able to see and then read and then there are other words that you need to sound out to figure what it is. i can help you my dear! what resources do you need?