Thursday, March 29, 2007


One of the kids I worked with at my last job wrote a poem; he performed it spoken-word style at a celebration we had shortly before the program ended.

My then-boss contacted the author and had the poem printed up and framed for me before I left that last job. When I moved this summer, I almost ditched the poem. I did ditch the certificate of appreciation that the former employer gave me at the same time, cause, meh. It's hard for a certificate to make up for being laid off, you know? I toss things into the trash without a moment's hesitation. Sometimes it bites me in the ass later on, but at least I'm not like my grandma and sister, who hoard things. My friend R convinced me to keep the framed poem, though, so I put it away somewhere in my office and forgot about it.

Well, I came across it a couple of days ago and put it in my bag to take to work. It's hanging behind my monitor, along with a rescued (bad) oil painting of a group of unidentifiable shorebirds.

I wanted to share it. I've changed the teen's name (trying to keep the rhyme) and left out the title, for anonymity's sake.

Week one was team building
Not knowing a soul
Getting used to the old light in the ceiling
And the room being a little cold

As the weeks progressed we got to know each other
Minds got loose
Soon we felt like long-lost sisters and brothers
We were beginning to expand our family roots.

So much fun now
That we can barely pay attention
The group is one now
Learning all types of preventions

Preventing pregnancy, date rape, HIV and STIs
Through our strong ties we can make people realize
If they open their eyes
And look past the horizon
People will hear them now; there's no need for Verizon.

I leave here a pain annihilator
Not a heart breaker
But a spirit levitator
And I had a great group of friends there to help. They are my mind motivators.
So most importantly I leave here not just Ricky Dean
But Ricky Dean a peer educator.

It would be really, super easy to snark on this, and OH don't you know I have (There's no need for Verizon??) . But it really touches me. Something I did...something I facilitated, made this 15-year old boy have these thoughts. His sense of self comes through so strong...Go Ricky Dean!

This is why I do what I do.