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Change the heart

Change the person

This young girl entered my life five year ago as a former sixth grade student who was now in eighth grade and was suicidal. Her life had unraveled because of verbal and physical abuse by a brother and stepfather, as well as a speech impediment that was becoming a putdown issue. I was called in because of my putdown free work in the district and the fact that I was one of the few teachers that she trusted.

We worked with her very intently, hooking her up with the high school CORE Team and its very caring coordinator, as well as getting her a Big Sister from the senior high peer leadership program. The following year she became a peer leader and truly she never looked back at the home environment she could not change.

This student became one of my closest friends and heroes. Before graduating, she gave a short oral presentation in an open public forum to our school board telling them that the peer leadership program and several starfish people had literally saved her life. Her gift to me was a poem entitled, "I Want To Be A Teacher Just Like You," which she presented to me in the hallway at graduation. All we could do was exchange a wonderful hug and cry together. This is why I was a teacher and continue to believe with all my heart that lives can be transformed and saved by the elimination of putdowns.

She continues to send me cassette tapes of positive songs form various artists that I can use in my presentations. This amazing young lady is enrolled in college to become an elementary school teacher, one that will impact education and be a great teacher.