When conducting the interviews for this video, Jayesh — our supervisor — told us that there are many clients that have been enrolled in the street court program and then in affect their child also enrolled in the program. He told us about this one story where the mom had a lot of traffic tickets and was struggling with drug abuse and then in affect her son was also installed in the program for similar reasons. Eventually, they both ended were successful in the program and continued to progress in terms of rebuilding the many aspects of their lives after the program.
One of the most encouraging things about my job here is being able to hear previously homeless parents and grandparents talk about their children and grandchildren. Almost all the time they explain how their hopes and prospects for their children have changed now that they've been through the program. It's so encouraging and touching for me because I'm relatively not that far removed from high school. When I speak with someone whose son is about to enter senior year of high school, doing good academically, and is hopeful to receive a basketball or baseball scholarship for college it is so uplifting because I have friends and know people who were in similar situations not too long ago when I was in high school. It's awesome to see that those teens are able to better their lives due their parents progression in getting out of homelessness. Even though I haven't done anything personally in their lives it's great to know that our program not only had an impact on the lives of our clients directly but also for their kids and hopefully for generations to come in that family.
Because of this tremendous potential that the program can have I was interested in seeing the perspective of the child living in poverty in Detroit. Although these are success stories, obviously this isn't true for all, and probably not most, teens in Detroit or any place for that matter. But because of this I was curious about what the teens of Detroit living in poverty feel about their situation, their neighborhood, and what needs to change in order to improve both. Too often do I think we disregard the youth in terms of considering their input for change, and especially the marginalized; yet this article I think does well in not only taking Detroit teens seriously but being earnest about portraying their perspective on future change.
This article titled "'It took my childhood.' Detroit teens talk about life in the city" by Jennifer Guerra talks about how the 'hoods' of Detroit have given and taken away a lot from the teens. What's great about this article is that Guerra almost allows the teens to write the article themselves with most of it being direct quotes from the teens, thus emphasizing how serious she is taking them in their opinions of impoverished Detroit neighborhoods. One of the main teens mentioned in the article named Najai Jones talked about how the hood has "taken family and my peace of mind. It took my childhood." Char'De another main contributor to the article was explaining how although she appreciates part of her neighborhood, she wants to leave because of the struggle, blight, and poverty that comes along. However, Jones has a different perspective. She explained that "it’s not the neighborhood necessarily that has to be changed, it’s the people that’s in it. And leaving is not going to help them." Both arguments are valid. In all of this it's important to take into consideration that in order to solve any of these problems it's vital to first be proximate. These articles need to be made because it's the first step in being proximate. In order to even start to think about changing some of the hurt that goes on in these neighborhoods, we first must prioritize interacting with the parents and the youth which are the proudest and most useful advocates for change in these areas.
The link to this article is: http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/it-took-my-childhood-detroit-teens-talk-about-life-city