Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Teaching a kid to be a 'king'

Nadege Green
Have you ever read a Facebook post that made you smile, but at the same time put a lump in your throat?

That's what happened to me this morning when I logged on to Facebook and read a post by WLRN/Miami Herald reporter Nadege Green.

Here's her post:
Awesome news: Last year I posted about a teenager who lives near me and was a prolific hanger outer -- he skipped school, hung out by the 7-11. My husband reached out to him one day and invited him over for dinner.

From there they formed a bond. I would eavesdrop on their conversations where the husband would share his personal story or hand him a book to read. He told the teen, "kings don't hang out on corners, kings aren't bums."

Sometimes the husband would drop him off to night school to catch up on the days he would skip. In recent months I noticed a change. He stopped hanging out with the boys on the streets. He joined the 5000 role models and proudly wore the signature red tie. A few weeks ago I ran into him and he said, "Miss, I'm doing real good in school now. Really good."

I smiled and told him to keep it up. Yesterday, he dropped by the house to show the husband just how good he was doing. He had a paper in his hand, it was a certificate: The Principal's Honor Roll. He earned straight As in all his classes. 
Then he told the husband: "Thank you for inspiring me." He said he didn't want anything, no gift or reward for doing well in school, that's what he's supposed to do, he said, But then he asked for a frame. He can't afford one and would like to hang his certificate in his room. So proud of this young man. ‪#‎eachoneteachone‬ ‪#‎reachback‬ ‪#‎thepowerofmentors‬

In a subsequent post, Green explained what had motivated her husband:
My husband tends to notice all the young boys on our block who at first glance might appear to be misguided. He always speaks to them. When we moved into our house a few years ago, there was a 13-year old who lived next door. The 13-year old was also friends with the teen who got the honor roll . My husband noticed he looked sad and like he needed some positive energy in his life. He didn't get around to reaching out to the 13-year old for some time because life happens and he was busy. Then, one day another neighbor came up to us to deliver bad news. The 13-year old was shot and killed in Little Haiti. It broke my husband's heart. He felt that maybe if he had gotten around to talking to this 13-year old, maybe he wouldn't have been in Little Haiti that day. Maybe he would still be alive. Shortly after the 13-year old died my husband vowed not to let being busy get in the way of making time for someone else. So when he saw the teen at 7-11, he said I'm not going to wait, I'm getting him now.

Many of Green's friends responded with messages like this: "Thank you for sharing this, it brought tears to my eyes! Very inspirational - now let's go see which one of my students I can inspire today!"

Others asked if they could contribute money to help the young man buy the frame or some school supplies.

A few hours later, Green followed up with this note:
I am overwhelmed by the number of you who have contacted me personally to contribute cash or school supplies or something for the young man in the post from earlier. Here's what you can do if you want: Write an encouraging note addressed to Igor (that's his name). Sign your name and your title if you want (journalist, student, police officer, photographer) Send it to me via Facebook messaging, on my wall or email I will compile your sweet words and present them to him this weekend when we give him his frame during dinner. You guys are the best!

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