Tuesday, September 06, 2005


"This is a pretty cool place," he said, as he jutted his chin front and back. "This is a pretty cool place."
Words from Ken, an eight-year-old boy I spent time with at the shelter. A very bright, very respectful boy, I came to him when I saw his mother laying down looking dazed and sad. I offered to bring Ken to get a hot plate of food and bring back some snacks for his mom, who was too exhausted to do it herself. As Ken and I walked along the rows of hundreds and hundreds of cots, I heard a "Hi, Ken!" coming from a little girl. Ken did the little "nod, playing-it-cool" thing that boys like to do, and I asked him who she was. "She goes to my school. There are a lot of kids from my school here." (When he talks, he accents up in a high pitched voice - it is very cute.) I'm surprised that there are kids from his school here but also pleased because it's a great thing for the kids to have some familiarity.
We arrive at the food area, and Ken is very particular about taking care of his mother's needs first. He wants to get her everything she needs and then some. We get her a big bag of stuff and then plenty of hot food for him. As we walk back, I ask him if he has a favorite subject in school, and, if so, what it was? "I like Math," he said. "And Spelling. And Reading. And Writing." We then talk about how much he likes school, and I tell him that he is going to get to go to our schools now. He thinks that is pretty cool, too.
When I get him and his mom set up with food, I realize that she is probably going to pass out for hours, but he is still wide awake. I offer to bring him some books to pass the time. From the donations, I find Pokemon and Digimon and Calvin and Hobbes and a poem book and Goosebumps. I also find a third grade education workbook. I bring it all over, not sure if Goosebumps will be a little too hard for him. I ask him to read me a paragraph so I can tell, and he proceeds to read me the whole page. He would have read me the whole book had I not stopped him! I show his mom all I brought over, and she immediately comments that he will love the education workbook.

I really hope this kid gets to continue on the excellent path he has led so far. Smart, respectful, loving towards his mother - such a good kid.

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