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knit me more time...
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
an impossible decision

I just got back from Big Brothers Big Sisters. I am getting matched with a new little sister and today I heard about 3 possible matches. I was matched before to someone but she was older (13-14) and kind of aged out of the program (she was wonderfully anti-institutional and protective of herself so she'll do fine). I remember this feeling from the last time I had to chose a little sister- I want to choose all of them. Basically, in this appointment, I sat down and heard everything about 3 girls, all 9-10 years old. Hearing about their daily struggles, school, families, and social lives is overwhelming. It really puts my difficulties in grad school in perspective. Here is a recap of the 3 I have to choose from. [I changed their names] Beth: Will be 10 in February. She has been matched before to a big sister who moved recently. Her mother struggles with depression, is on disability and is often in the hospital. Her older sister was adopted and has a history of sexual abuse. She is kind of caught in the middle of all of this. Before, she was in the program because she had a low self esteem and was struggling in school. Now, she loves school and is doing okay. She has become more outgoing and wants to be a lawyer. Anna: Lives with her mother and 8 sisters and brothers of various ages. They often have no phone, so making dates with Anna will be more difficult. Her teacher wrote on her form that Anna has "limited life experiences" and often comes to school tired and unable to concentrate. She loves reading, but isn't doing great in school. She has no behavior problems but her teacher called her "spunky". Her mother is "delayed" and receives disability, food stamps, but no child support from the father. Anna's big wishes in life are 1) to have a big sister 2) world peace 3) no poverty in the world and 4) for people of all races to get along. Her idol is Martin Luther King Junior. Rose: Lives with her grandmother, mother and 3 siblings. She loves doing girly things like hair and makeup. She doesn't do very well in school and freqently has behavioral issues. Her teacher said she needs a big sister who "won't take any crap" and that "once you get past Sandra's toughness she is a wonderfully sweet kid." Sandra's idol is her grandmother and she just started playing the violin. The only subject in school she likes is music. So, I am pretty sure I have decided on Anna, but it hard to even weigh the pros and cons of picking any of these girls. Beth has already been matched with a big, so she has had that experience and it has helped her. Sandra has behavioral issues, and while I have been working on not being so nice all the time, I don't know if I could deal well enough with that. There is also something about Anna that sounds wonderful and spunky. And the other girls will hopefully get big sisters soon. I have never used my blog to tell people to do anything (I don't think I have, anyway) but I'll just encourage readers to think about volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Near where you live there are hundreds of kids just like these girls who need someone to talk to and hang out with once a week. I know it seems impossible to find a couple spare hours a week, but when I did it last year, the couple hours I spent were worth it. The organization is also very cool- they take all kinds of volunteers (even gay and lesbian people as long as it is fine with the parent which surprisingly it usually is). With the Bush admin's "no child left behind" testing but no funding crap, cuts in Pell Grants, cuts in welfare etc... etc... it seems like the least we can do to help a kid out.

posted by knit wit | 1/11/2005 04:46:00 PM

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