Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dancing in the Library

So on Saturday we had a group from Vanderbilt collaborate with Amachi Kids Club. This group reflects through poetry and dancing. There mission aligns so closely with what we are doing: Rhythm & Roots is dedicated to exploring the use of the performing arts as an expression of social complexities and as a catalyst for social change. We wish to inspire, uplift and provide hope to today's youth by bringing people together through a common bond (the arts). The dance, music and energy of the students and our audience, draw us closer to a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
The children were able to learn some hip hop moves and also hear a beautiful poem about self esteem. You can find some images that only tell part of the story. We also decorated journals so the children could do their own reflection. Saturday was a hectic day for the performers because they had a meeting as well but we improvised before they arrived. We played musical chairs and made an Easter collage that is now hanging in our office because it is so cute! Two of the little boys were playing soccer; somehow I think the librarians were not too impressed with the banging noise on the wall. I wish we could do more activities outside that involve sports but even the children are concerned about what happens at the basketball court. One child who is involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Napier area took this picture.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Daddy has 18 years...

Sandy forwarded me an email from a mother about what she was experiencing recently with her eight year old son. I read the email and called the mother and the interaction with her affected my whole week. “I’m afraid that I’m losing my eight year old son. He’s acting out in school, at home and everywhere else. He’s teacher doesn’t know why, he doesn’t understand why. His father is incarcerated and has been his whole entire life. He feels like no one loves him, and we do. He plays football and sees all the other kids fathers, step-fathers, etc…coming to see them play and it makes him cry. My son is too young for that.” The mother was so excited about the program that she emailed the child’s application the same day. I know she will be committed to the program.

Today I had a referral from the prison to call a grandmother to follow up and receive the mother’s information. It was a somewhat overwhelming call. I found out that one of the sons has a birthday in March and the father was planning to do something special with him. The children don’t know that daddy is in prison but will find out this weekend when their grandmother takes them to see him. How do you explain to a 12 and 9 year old that dad murdered someone and will miss your whole childhood? He gets out in 18 years. The grandmother was explaining that the kids are living with the mother and some of her friends in a trailer park, so on top of the perils of poverty they lost their father.