This is the Face of Homelessness

I was going to bring Teddy to the homeless shelter where I was to tutor a sixth grade girl in reading comprehension. Ted did not want to get out of bed so early, so I left without him. I also wasn’t sure of the rules when it came to visiting transition shelters like the one I went to in Roxbury, so I thought it was better to leave him behind.

When I first met my student, she was tired and shy. By the time I left, we were all on the floor coloring and putting stickers on each other. Never have two hours passed so quickly in all of my life. I did NOT want to leave.

KD’s school hired me to provide her with two hours of tutoring in reading. I went to the Library ahead of time to buy some used books for her. Here she is writing her name in the books so her brother and sister don’t take them from her:

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I wish I could have stayed longer. I wish I thought to bring them more snacks to eat. I wish I could do more for them than I did.

I taught KD how to annotate a text. I taught her the meaning of ‘alliteration’. I taught her her the meaning of ‘personification’. I taught her the importance of word choice to an author’s meaning. I taught her that tutors can be fun. I taught her that tutors can get on the floor and color and eat popcorn.

However, she taught me MANY more things that day. She taught me that it’s possible to be happy in a hopeless (and homeless) situation. She taught me to be grateful for all that I have. She taught me that a person can be happy with so very little. She taught me to have hope. She taught me that I would be happy teaching in a system where so many students have so little access to resources. She taught me that I could make a difference.

Her little brother, Spiderman, was an absolute JOY! Even though he liked to annoy his sister (what brother doesn’t?), the bond between them was palpable. He was showing off by doing cartwheels in the living room while his sister and I read the first chapter of Ellie’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron, and she annotated the text because it was her very own book that I brought for her.

He said he couldn’t read yet. I want to go back and teach him. I must find a way. How can anyone resist this face?

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That’s what I thought. No one can. His eyes show sparks of joy, innocence, happiness and kindness all at the same time.

Ted is going to come with me next time. There’s a spot on the couch for him right next to the kids. Mom said it was okay to bring him.

I pray that their family gets the new start they deserve. I pray that the resources come through. I pray that there are no more complications for them. And I pray for their continued happiness in spite of their challenging circumstances.

A very grateful,

Ted’s Mom

25 thoughts on “This is the Face of Homelessness

  1. What a wonderful work you do. How lovely. I’ve noticed too how sometimes when we do something to help another person we end up being helped. I have a sister who was homeless in the United States for some years. She met many good people at that time. Most were homeless because they became sick and lost everything.

    Liked by 6 people

    • This family would spend their last few dollars to buy food for another family who just arrived with nothing. It was heartwarming to see how kind and generous everyone was to each other. I honestly havenโ€™t been this happy in quite a while. Youโ€™re right about how when we go to help others we are the ones who get helped along the way! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’œ

      Liked by 5 people

  2. The plight of the sweet babies living in these oh so necessary shelters shatters my heart. I wish we could do more to fight this battle, sadly it has become an epidemic. Celebrating with you in Pennsylvania. HUGS.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You are such a gift to these unfortunate children! I pray you get another chance to help them learn. So proud of who you are! What an incredible feeling one gets when helping others! You have a huge heart! I would like to help if you ever go back with food or clothing or household items! Please keep us posted!

    Liked by 3 people

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