asakiyume: (autumn source)
Thing One: Marathon
Over this past weekend, Wakanomori ran a marathon in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom (I love that name--what a name!), way up by the Canadian border. Even though the mountains there are not 14,000-foot crags like in the Rockies, there's a high, lonely, mountainous air to it--you feel Up There.

It was a very tiny, intimate marathon. Here is the group taking off--not just marathoners, but people running a 17-miler and a half-marathon as well. There were also bicyclists, but they took off from a different spot.

runners in early morning light

more about the marathon )

Thing Two: Jury Right/Duty

In the class I help out in, the students were reading about qualifications for serving on a jury. Someone asked when women started being allowed to serve. No one knew for sure. I thought it would be around the time women got the right to vote. WRONG.
As late as 1942 only twenty-eight state laws allowed women to serve as jurors, but these also gave them the right to claim exemption based on their sex. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 gave women the right to serve on federal juries, but not until 1973 could women serve on juries in all fifty states.
(Source)

These little reminders of the lack of recognition of women's full rights and responsibilities as fellow humans freak me out.

Thing Three: Catalogue

Sometimes the best guesses of algorithms are wrong. I have some ideas of how my name might have come up as a good candidate for a catalogue of Catholic church accoutrements; nevertheless, it's a faulty assumption. I will not be ordering any vestments, devotional statues, candle stands, or intinction sets.** I like that I *could*, though.

**I've learned from the catalogue that that's what you call the equipment that holds the stuff for the sacrament of the Eucharist. ETA: Or rather, that was my guess, but I found out from [personal profile] amaebi that actually it's the set-up for when you're going to dip the host in the wine.




asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Esmeralda Santiago is a writer I hadn't heard of before a couple of weeks ago, when J, one of the teachers at the educational program I volunteer with in Holyoke, said she was coming to give a talk at Holyoke Community College. "I was hoping you could talk her up in your creative writing session and get some of the students to come."

He handed me the sheet on her, and wow:

Esmeralda Santiago grew up in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico in a one-room shack with a dirt floor and tin roof. Her family moved to New York when she was thirteen years old. The eldest of eleven, Esmeralda learned English from children’s books in a Brooklyn library. A teacher encouraged her to audition for Performing Arts High School, where she majored in drama and dance. After eight years of part-time study at community colleges, Esmeralda transferred to Harvard University with a full scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1976. Shortly after graduation, she and her husband Frank Cantor founded CANTOMEDIA, a film and media production company that has won numerous awards for excellence in educational and documentary filmmaking. With the publication of her first memoir When I was Puerto Rican, the Washington Post hailed Esmeralda as “a welcome new voice, full of passion and authority.” Her first novel, America's Dream, has been published in six languages and made into a movie by executive producer Edward James Olmos. Her second memoir, Almost a Woman, received an Alex Award from the American Library Association, and was made into a Peabody-award winning movie for PBS Masterpiece Theatre’s “American Collection.”


It gets long )

The people from my class who went--three women (one in her late 20s, one in her 40s, and one in her 60s) and one man (in his 30s), all Puerto Rican--loved the talk, and I did too. And I felt a swirl of gratitude and pride, pride because if I hadn't persuaded them to come, they wouldn't have gotten to, and gratitude, because if it wasn't for their coming, I wouldn't have probably gone.

It was a Good Experience.


Esmeralda Santiago
(photo source: centerforfiction.org)
asakiyume: (squirrel eye star)
A student said one of the best things in class today. People were sharing stories they'd been told when they were young, and she recalled being at her grandparents' house during a thunderstorm. It was dark--no power--and it was thundering and the lightning was flashing, and all the kids were scared, and her grandfather said about the lightning, "Don't be scared--it's just the astronauts taking pictures."

The lightning flashes were the flashes from the astronauts' cameras.

Isn't that the best?
asakiyume: (good time)
Last week's prompt for the students in Holyoke was "This cat is very strange ..." I did a couple of illustrations to go with some students' descriptions:

This cat looks like a dog. The cat ears are hanging to the floor, has a long tail but the cat skin is red and blue.

Then there was this cat:

I was in the park and I seen a cat with three eyes looking at a bird.

What did you think when you saw this three-eyed cat?

He has a better chance of catching the bird! LOL

A few students were suspicious of black cats, though when I asked one if black cats were bad luck, she said,
No, cats are not bad luck, they just cats. They are good of seeing ghosts around, though.

When looking for an image to illustrate that woman's writing, I found this fun story about Sable, the crossing-guard cat, who comes out every day to watch the kids safely cross the street to school in the morning and leaving school in the afternoon.

Sable has been watching over the students from across the street for about a year. Tamara Morrison owns the cat. She says one day, Sable just walked outside to greet the students, and he's been doing it ever since ... [Tamara] has now bought a safety vest for Sable to make him an honorary member of the Enterprise Safety Patrol.

asakiyume: (feathers on the line)





A wise old woman gives you an item. She says it is very valuable. Why is it valuable?

Here are five items and eight interesting answers to the question: A wise old woman give you an item.

Excerpts:

From Victor:

The old wise woman I seen at an antique shop came and told me what is it that I seek in her sanctuary of wisdom and knowledge. I said to her that I am seeking a lock to protect stuff I put away.

From Reniell:

One day I was walking down the street, and this lady walk up and said, “Here, have this. I can see that this item call to you.”

From Leshiara:

she wanted to share this beautiful shellfish with me cause she probably seen in me that she didn’t see in anyone else.

From Mario:

She said some magic words, Azarack Meteron Zinthos, as the gold started to glow.
asakiyume: (snow bunting)
In the creative writing workshop I'm doing, I did a version of "what is taller, higher, softer, smaller?" Some of the answers are beautiful. You can read all of them here, but here are a few highlights:

As quiet as a fish, moths, smoke (Victor D)
I'm not brave enough killing spider (Lilliana)
I am empty like a cup of juice when I drink it (Abraham)


(photo of smoke by Nur Uretmen: Source)

And I promised to link to some of the stories they'd written, too. This one is written by Victor M, who's not as old as the man pictured, but getting up in years--I feel like he had real empathy for the man in the photo: "Remembering his youth."

Laly said she picked this photo because the woman reminded her of her grandmother: "Waiting on her food."

(Laly wrote a moving piece on being transgender and choosing her own name, here.)

Yamayra liked that the couple in the photo she chose were dancing in the kitchen.

Enjoy!


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Today I did a creative-writing session using the collection of photos I'd put together, and it was fascinating (and in some cases touching) to see what photos people chose, and why. It'll take me some time to put the stories online, but when I've got them up, I'll link to them.

But here are some of the photos people chose:



That's by Wanda Lotus, who does great photos from the subways, streets, and parks of New York City. Check out her work here or here, and consider supporting her Patreon.

This next one is by Marcey Jacobson (1911–2009), an American who moved to Chiapas, Mexico, and took many photos there during the 1950s. (Her Wikipedia entry is here.)



The next photo, by Federico Rios, is of FARC guerrillas in Colombia. The source is a 2016 photo essay in the British Journal of Photography (Note: All the photos were printed in black-and-white for the prompt)

FARC soldiers

This photo of boys playing soccer is by a Ghanaian photographer, Francis Kokoroko, whom I follow on Tumblr (here). The original, larger version of the photo is here.




And here's one that I took, of a baby contest at the B-town fair in 2009.

Baby contest

There are many more pictures! But the cat is whining, so I'll call it a day with these.

Quick PS--I'm slow to come to songs sometimes, and this Sia song "The Greatest" has been out for a year, but the chorus, Don't give up, I won't give up, don't give up, no, no, no, is a great message.
asakiyume: (man on wire)
Back when I was doing Inktober posts, I posted the image of the eight of swords, from the Rider-Waite tarot deck:



I decided to use that and other tarot images as writing prompts with the group of adult students I'm working with, and that image prompted two very diverging responses. You can read both of them here, but I wanted to feature the first--a story told in just four sentences, but so full of drama--here:

The woman is from Sparta and she’s the king’s daughter. The Romans want to retaliate because a Spartan prince stole a Roman king’s wife. Now Sparta attacks on a sneaky tip and saves her. Sparta had to kill 650,000 soldiers to get to her because she was in a high hidden place in the Rome kingdom.
--Abraham Viera

The guy who wrote that, Abraham, is new to the class. I hope he sticks around!


asakiyume: (man on wire)
I've been doing writing sessions with adult learners in Holyoke. Last week's theme was "stories they tell," about stories told in your family. The group had great stories to share. There's a website, and gradually, as people give permission, some of their writing will go up there. I was reassuring them that nothing would go up without their permission, and one woman said, "It's okay; I like taking up space in people's mind."

It was such a startling, brilliant remark. I asked her if she'd write it down, and she did, and it's now one of the first things up on the website.

Taking up space

In life, some people get encouraged to take up space, and other people get told to keep out of the way, to make themselves small. I was really glad this woman had decided to assert her right to occupy people's thoughts and attention.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I'm doing a little bit of writing with some adult learners (there may be some high school students in this class as well)--just ten minutes or so. I don't have any pedagogical reason to believe this is beneficial, except for believing that when people have pleasant experiences doing something, then that thing becomes less daunting. In other words, maybe, if the students enjoy this time writing, they'll feel more able to tackle the sort of writing you need to do to clear the hurdles in front of them. But even if that's not the case, I think people deserve a chance and a place to try out writing, just for its own sake and their own sake. So.

My first prompt for them was this quote from Fred Rogers: "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind," which I recalled from this autotuned song made from that and other remarks of his.

I showed them some gardens.

A garden in Holyoke, created by "self-proclaimed plant geeks":


(Source)

Randyland, the garden created by Randy Gilson, a waiter and son of a single mom, in Pittsburgh, PA:


(Source)

The magic gardens of Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia:


(Source)

The blooming Cadillacs at the Cadillac ranch in Amarillo, Texas:


(Source is this Google image, whose original location is given as this video.)

The famous Zen garden at Ryōanji, in Kyoto, Japan:


(Source)

And I said, even when you think a place is barren, nothing growing, life pushes through, like in this parking lot in Boston:


(Source)

And then I asked them--what's growing in the garden of your mind? Several people wrote that they felt like the parking lot and talked about worries, but one wrote about a painting she's planning, and another compared his mind to a potato (and gave me a diagram to show it growing). It was wonderful.

What's growing in the garden of *your* mind, these days?
asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
The other day I went to a high school graduation, but today was graduation for the people in the special program I help out in. There's some overlap between the two graduations, but a lot of today's graduates were not at the high school graduation.

I was standing near the front to try to take some photos, and who should I find at my left elbow at one point but the young mayor of Holyoke! I blurted out, "You're one of my heroes," and then told him the story of the girl pointing him out with pride to her relative.

He spoke at this graduation, too, said he felt especially close to this program because of his own parents: his mom dropped out of high school because she was pregnant, and his father dropped out too. In her forties, his mother went back to school and got her GED, and then--even though she had never thought it would be possible--she went on to become a nurse.

Two former graduates spoke about what they were doing now (one is in a transition-to-college program and one is in college)--they said that whenever they have something they don't understand, they come back in to get help from the teachers here. Then several of the students spoke. One talked about how he thought he was going to have to drop out of the program because he couldn't find childcare for his son, but the staff wouldn't let him--they had him bring his son along. Another spoke about dropping out of school and then getting in trouble with the law and thinking he wouldn't be allowed back because he had an ankle bracelet police monitor device on, and being welcomed by the teachers. I saw the mayor wiping tears from his eyes.

And this time, I got pictures. I don't feel free to share them, but believe me: they are beautiful.


Blessings

Jun. 6th, 2017 04:38 pm
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Last week I went to the graduation of one of the high school students I'd been tutoring. The high school she was at has a history of low performance, which probably contributed to the huge joy and sense of celebration in the air for this ceremony. Everybody was really, really rooting for these kids; each one represents a huge victory for everyone--the kids themselves, the families, the teachers, the whole community.

That sense of community spirit! The very young mayor of the city was there, and when he got up to speak, a girl sitting in front of me--maybe eleven or twelve years old--said to her older relative with pride, "Do you see him? He's our mayor." I have never lived in a place where a little kid would be that enthusiastic for a local politician.

Afterward, I had to walk a few blocks to get to where I had parked, and on my way back I couldn't stop smiling. A guy coming the other direction said to me, "God bless you sister," as we passed, and I did feel blessed.

fights

May. 17th, 2017 05:41 pm
asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
It was one of the women at the jail who first told me that middle school and high school kids film their fights with their phones and then post them on Youtube. Then last week one of my high school tutees was talking affectionately about one of her younger sisters. "She's so bad," she said, laughing, and showed me a video on her phone of her little sister and another girl fighting. They had hands in each other's hair. "Ouch," I said, "that looks like it hurts!" "She's so bad," my tutee repeated, shaking her head and smiling.

I went online and found other videos, with breathless remarks from the person doing the filming. None of the ones I happened to look at were cases of someone being beaten up (though I'm sure that happens too), and none of them were mass melees (though same). These were ... well, in some cases they seemed like duels: there were seconds hanging back on both sides, and the fight was very short, and then it was like the seconds decided it was over. And in other cases it kind of reminded me of training? Like, instead of boxing or mixed martial arts, you're doing homemade fighting.

And the people filming. They seemed from their voices and their excitement levels so YOUNG. "Come on, hurry up, Celie! Somebody grab my sister!" exclaims one kid, and then, "Come on, fight fight fight, yo!" And in another video, a similarly young-sounding kid (a boy whose voice hasn't changed yet) shouts out advice ("keep your head up"), and when one of the fighters says "I can't breathe!" he calls out for everyone to stop. The girl says, "This asthma," and the kid says, "I fucking hate asthma too."

I know there are way worse fights. I know people get really badly hurt--I've seen scars my students in the jail have. That's not what was going on in the videos I happened to see, though.

I remember one of my other high school tutees, a *tiny* girl, talking about finally having to fight someone to get people to stop taunting her. I couldn't believe that having a fight would do that--I would have thought it would just escalate things. But apparently not.

Me, I'm wrapped in a floor-length robe of ignorance, with a fluffy hat of ignorance on my head. I don't have any summarizing statement to make or judgment to pass, beyond to say---I mean, maybe this is picking up on the high spirits of the people making the videos? and the casual attitude of my student?--but I felt surprisingly un-bad about the fact of the fights. I don't want kids to be ganged up on and beaten up, and I **definitely** think there are other ways to settle differences or strut your stuff. But ... maybe this is one possible way to settle differences and strut your stuff that isn't as bad as all that if all parties are willing? I don't know! See above: ignorance.

a fight

fighting
asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)



Last week, both with my high school tutees and with my students at the jail, I asked them to pick one of four pictures from Humans of New York to write about. The assignment was to tell me about the person in the photo, then to ask that person some questions, and then, in that person's voice, to answer the questions.

from the photo essay book Humans of New York

I got two deeply contrasting stories about this man from my students at the jail. One saw him as an "intelligent graduate, following his big New York dream ... which is to play in the Apollo" to become a musician--but with a safety job as a lawyer. The other--an older woman, who's been homeless herself--saw him as homeless. The questions she wanted to ask him were very practical: would you like a home-cooked meal; would you like a hot shower and a place to sleep; can I give you ten dollars "for something positive not negative."

Her answers almost undid me. She imagined him saying [paraphrasing], yes, I would love a home-cooked meal, as long as you let me do the dishes; yes I would love a hot shower, but only if you let me clean up after myself; a place to sleep on a couch or the floor would be great, and any amount of money would be appreciated. She finished with "I just wanted to thank you for being kind and offering all that to me."


portales

Mar. 15th, 2017 08:17 pm
asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)






The high school volunteering I do isn't actually in a high school, it's at a special program for kids who have to amass a fair number of credits in a short period of time in order to graduate, and it's on the third floor of a downtown building. It shares space with a program for adults who never got their high school diploma, who are catching up on education and passing a high school equivalency test.

The program director had these little scenes hanging on her wall. She told me they're portales--representations of storefronts doorways (but a lot are storefronts; those are the ones I especially liked)--which are a folk craft. Hers come from Puerto Rico and Ecuador.



Here are some of them up close. If you can turn yourself small, you can go into them, and you'll find yourself in the actual place. I think. I mean, it stands to reason, right?





I said it would be fun to make those for storefronts here, and she said, "Wouldn't it! And our students would love it; they're so creative. I can't tell you how many times I've written grants for arts-related things, but we never win them."


asakiyume: (Em reading)






So I've been spending a little time volunteering with some high school students who are doing intensive online learning to collect the credits they need to graduate. They do get some facetime with teachers, though, and I'm there to help with writing and reading. For the state proficiency exam, you need to be able to talk about something you've read (you know the sorts of questions).

For a serious read, we've started working on Peas and Carrots, a really excellent book by Tanita Davis about two high school girls: one is a foster kid (a girl) and the other is the same-age daughter in the family she's come to stay with. The characters are really likable and the situation is really real without being awesomely depressing. (Short review here.)


But for fun, they're reading the Spanish-language edition of Ann Aguirre's best-selling Enclave, the first novel in a dystopian YA trilogy, and I'm reading along in English. (Many big thanks to Ann Aguirre, who **sent me** multiple copies of all three novels, in Spanish. The kids in this program are almost entirely Puerto Rican, and so it's fun to have something to read that's not as much of a struggle as an English-langauge book can be.)


I haven't actually read much dystopian YA (I read Nicole Kornher-Stace's Archivist Wasp, which I loved, but I can't think of other titles), and I have to say, I'm really enjoying this. At the beginning, the main character, Deuce, has only just been given her name--and her role: huntress. There are three things you can be in her underground community: hunter, builder, or breeder.

Last time I was in, only one of the girls I've been working with was there, but we talked a little about the book. I asked her which of the three roles she'd like to have, and, unsurprisingly, she said huntress. I asked her why, and she said because you get to go places and see more things--a great reason, and actually one of the things Deuce likes about being a huntress. We talked a little about what qualities you'd need to be a good huntress, and then I asked her what she'd want to be if she couldn't be a hunter.

"Definitely not a breeder," she said, with feeling.

"Oh yeah? Why not?" I asked.

"Because you have to give birth!" she said.

"Which is bad because it's ... painful?" I asked. I know she has a two-year-old, so she knows what it's like to give birth, but I didn't want to assume that was what she was meaning.

She looked at me with mild astonishment.

"Miss, do you have kids?" she asked.

"Yes I do! Guess how many."

"Two," she said.

"Nope."

"Three."

"Uh-uh."

"One?"

"No..."

"Five?"

At which point I relented and told her it was four, and agreed that giving birth was painful.

"Do you think you'd ever like to have another kid?" I asked.

She most decidedly did not want to have another, not even when she was older, she said. That makes sense as a reaction, though it's definitely not the reaction that all the teen mothers have. But for sure it's easier to finish school, go on for more education, and/or get a job if you don't have a tiny baby to take care of.





asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)






Two girls were eating McDonald's. "Are you a vegan?" one asked me.

"Me? No, I eat everything," I said.

"Really?!" the girl said, completely incredulous. "You look like a vegan."

LOL. They've got me pegged pretty accurately. I just happen not to conform in the aspect of diet.


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
The kids I volunteer with were supposed to turn in a final paper today, but they were in MANY different stages of that process, including one kid who hadn't started at all. I was working mainly with others, but shortly before the end of class, I came over to him:

"Do you have a topic?"

"Yeah: basketball."

"So, do you want to just write a little something about basketball? Just so you have something to turn in? [Teacher] said she'll take anything you have."

"Miss, there are only six minutes left of class."

"Okay, so that's a challenge. What can you write in six minutes?"

I opened a Word document and typed, I have just six minutes to tell you about basketball.

"You take it from there," I told him.

He wrote, Basketball is an interesting sport and great entertainment.

"So tell me a little more about why it's interesting. As a sport, it's competing against football, baseball, soccer. As entertainment, it's competing against movies and things. What makes it special?"

He laughed. "It's the way they move on the court that gets people jazzed," he said.

"Great! Put that down. Just like that." He typed it in.

"We have two minutes," he pointed out.

"Okay, so if someone wanted to know more about basketball, where would they go? Like, where can I learn more about basketball?"

He typed, If you want to know more about basketball, you can go to www.nba.com, or watch games on ESPN. Then he looked at me with a sort of amazed expression on his face and said, "I never thought about that, about telling people how they could learn more about it."

"Yeah," I said, "That's what research is all about. And thanks to you, now I know something new. I'm writing that down in my notebook, 'www.nba.com'--I'm going to go there.** Now put your name on this and let's print it out."

He did, and we did. I felt SO GRATIFIED, and grateful. And he had something to turn in to the teacher.

**I have the website open in another window. It's got a database of players, various news stories, and video. Also, you can shop for gear there.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






The work I've started to do with the kids in the nearby city led me to this video on gangs from the National Gang Center. Although it's got some drawbacks (the overall analysis strikes me as... obvious? But what do I know; it may be that these are points that bear stressing), one VERY strong thing it's got going for it is the comments from actual former gang members: powerful and heartbreaking, not to mention enraging on the young people's behalf.


Raul, for instance, describes being in fifth grade and having a teacher catch him rolling a blunt and telling him he had to leave the classroom.



We started exchanging words, and then she's like, "You're not gonna do nothing 'cause you're a little kid; you're not that type of kid." I told her, "You want to go there?" and she's like, "You want to try me?" So that's when I decided to get a book, and I threw it at her. And then she called the cops, and then the cop came and put me in handcuffs.

That's right. He was in fifth grade and he ended up in handcuffs. A ten-year-old child.

Marion describes how important a father's love is to a young man.



Not having my father around was a very hurtful thing because, you know, you want to have your dad and your ma around, but especially dad, because that's your biggest role model, your biggest idol as a child. That's the one you look to to teach you how to do different things as a man to become a man. So, me not having that around kinda like pushed me out to get the love from guys in the street. Not to say that it was necessarily that positive love that you look for, you know, that you want, but I was talking to a man, and any time a man can teach you something, a child something or a young man something, he's going to pay attention.


Karlo describes having to take care of his little sister.



It was just me and my little sister. I would just try to provide for my sister 'cause my mom was never home. So I'd cook for my sister, I'd clean for my sister, you know, wash her clothes, I washed my clothes, and just stuff like that. You know, we just started growing up together. And I mean, it was hard for us because sometimes we didn't have food in the refrigerator, and that's why I started selling drugs and doing what I did.


Iris talked about losing her love for school. (You can't see this in the still, but she has the most expressive face. There are her words, but then her face says even more.)



Elementary school? I used to love school. I used to always wanted to go because I didn't experience it while I was little, while my mom was locked up. So when I used to go to school every day I liked it. And then, in middle school, that's when I didn't like school, like, I don't know, me and school don't get along. I didn't like school, I didn't like the teachers, I didn't like nobody, you know? Like I always wanted to be by myself. The teachers didn't care about me neither. They used to tell me I wasn't gonna be nobody. They said like, "You're just gonna be nobody. You're gonna be pregnant, you're gonna have kids." I'd just be like, "Okay."

Karlo describes the guy--a gang leader--who took him in when his mother kicked him out:

There was this one time when me and my mom--she was just fed up with me. It was during Hurricane Ike, and my mom kicked me out the house, you know, and I ain't have nowhere to go. I just had a backpack on my back and a duffel bag, and I seen the leader out on the corner street, and he was smoking a blunt and stuff, and he was like, "Man, where you from?" You know, I never met him or talked to him or anything, and he's like, "Where you from?" And I'm like, "From Houston," and he's like, "No, I'm saying, what's your bang," and I'm like, "Nah, I don't bang nothing."

The guy asks him about his bags, and Karlo says he's been kicked out and was heading to the park, and the guy invites Karlo to stay with him:

He's like,"Well, you could stay in my house if you want. I got an extra room." And I'm like, "Man, I appreciate it," and he let me inside his house. And we was going to the same school, too, so we would go to school together in the morning, and I would hang out with him at lunch. He helped me a lot ... With him, it wasn't always just about gangs, you know. He gave me advice, like, "Man, why you stop playing baseball?" You know, like, "Why don't you try harder in school?" "Why won't you get a job," You know, like, "Don't mess with these drugs." That's why I appreciate him, you know? Because he brought me from nothing to where I am right now.


So, yeah. When parents and teachers and society at large aren't doing what they're supposed to, and someone comes along like that--I'd join a gang, too, in that situation.

The good news is that only around 10 percent of kids who join gangs stay in them for more than three years. All the young people in this video have left gangs and are doing good things with their lives right now.


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I've started volunteering--just a little bit--helping high school kids with essay writing, both at my town's high school and in a troubled school district nearby. The kids at my local high school are relatively privileged (but still so various--one told me about moving from Maine, another about his Soundcloud page, another about being the child of Indian immigrants), the other are in a program for kids struggling to graduate for one reason or another.

That second bunch of kids--I love them so much already. They've picked some excellent research topics. One wanted to write about how miscarriages affect fathers (his girlfriend had a miscarriage). Another wanted to write about school lunches. Another, with Tourettes, wanted to write about Tourettes. Another wanted to write about the effect of cellphones and other electronics on kids in elementary school.

I want these kids to have the same chances that the kids at my local school have. They have so much good stuff to share with the world.

Here's the mighty Connecticut River. Just across it, over there, is where those kids go to school. See the water spurting and pluming through the dam? The city generates electricity from that.



Here are geese in the shoals.



And here's the view further down the river--well, two weekends ago. Most leaves have fallen now.

>

Here is graffiti under a bridge that crosses the river. Do you see the "RIP" on a piece of wood in the foreground? The dates were 1993 to 2016. My younger daughter's age.



Wake up, this graffito tells us. Are you sufficiently awake?




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asakiyume

April 2019

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