My volunteer work at St. Mary’s school every week has been a fun a rewarding experience. It has opened my eyes to children’s lives beyond belief, and how tough parents have it throughout the city of Baltimore. This past week however was extremely upsetting to me and tied directly into the “Serving up Hope” article found within the Baltimore Sun. Two of the children that I regularly tutor got into such an argument about each other’s families it was painful for me to listen to. It was almost as if they were not mad at each other, but for the short straw that God had dealt them. I was able to understand why they were acting out and how upset they were from their lives at home. People like Galen Sampson featured in the Baltimore Sun should be a role model to everyone. He is not only helping people directly, but indirectly he is helping their families, children, etc. If everyone could see how badly people’s action effect others around them, such as the students I tutor, the world would be a lot more likely to abide by Jesuit ideals and get out there to help others.
What began as a simple childish argument over who was smarter than who, turned out to be a heart wrenching physical fight between two eight year olds about their dads not being around and mothers doing drugs etc. I felt bad that I could not stop Kiana and Zonnie from fighting, the two children I tutor, but the principal and other administrative staff jumped in when they physically started pushing one another. They went back and forth several times calling each other stupid in which stopped by me telling them to knock it off. Then it escalated by Kiana calling Zonnie stupid because his mother was stupid and had too many children. Then he responded with “at least my mom isn’t always drunk.” Which then continued by Kiana telling him that at least she had two parents, and it continued on and on, and no matter what I said they would not stop. They ended up pushing each other onto the floor and people had to split them apart.
What surprised me was that they are the nicest kids in the room and delightful to see every week. This is what made me think that this fight was not so much between the two of them, as it was towards their anger towards their parents. Coming from an upper class family in a white suburban town no one experienced things as these two children were fighting about. An occasional divorce was rarely heard of, and hearing Zonnie and Kiana talk about such things at their ages made me want to somehow give them a better life, as Galen Sampson did in the Baltimore Sun article. Unfortunately I’m in college and could never make that big of an impact on any children’s life, but I wanted to so bad. To be so angry at the world that your dad left you or your mom was a drunk stunned me, especially because they are only eight years old.
Jesuit education seemed like just some old fashioned guidelines at the beginning of college. Yet the more and more I get out into the world and see what is going on, I have this drive to want to make things better. A couple years ago I would have told you a man like Galen Sampson was crazy for not making a better living and enjoying himself. Now I can see though what is important to him, because once you see how much little things can help, it’s almost like it is your duty. Drugs and alcohol are terrible addictions and what he is doing is changing these people, their families, and anyone else in their lives. Although the short story and poem we read does not relate to my experience, the Baltimore Sun’s article makes up for it and really drives home the point that I am trying to make with volunteering and how something so little can effect someone so much. I cannot even imagine how bad other children have it, it makes me appreciate everything my parent’s have done for me when I experience events like I did last week. Hopefully more people and the Loyola community can make a change in people’s lives, because it seems as though a lot of people need it.