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A VIEWFROM HERE: In the Trenches: A Few Thoughts on Youth Work

by Tanya Cromartie-Faraha

Tanya

I am writing this past deadline as usual. There is so much going on off the page that needs tending to, but I’m taking time this morning to get this off my chest and hope there will be a bit of space left for this piece. It won’t need much space. I’m downsizing in every room of my life and I’ve finally learned that most of us talk too much.

Milwaukee’s children need us…

Milwaukee’s children need those of us who work everyday on their behalf…

Milwaukee’s children need those of us who earn good money because of their plight…

Milwaukee’s children need those of us who use their plight as stair steps to heaven…

Milwaukee’s children need those of us who use their service to make feathers to stroke egos…

Milwaukee’s children need us to work on their behalf with respect and sincerity. They need to see themselves reflected in our eyes. Do not work with our youth if you feel they are hopeless, lost souls with nothing to offer the world. They WILL see this in your eyes and believe it.

Do not work with our youth if it is “just a job” for you. If you don’t take their smiles and wisdom home with you at night, if you do not see them as teachers and guides for the work that you do, if you rob them of their natural light then try to spoon-feed your agenda to them… we can handle this battle without you. Please stay home.

Milwaukee’s children need those of us who serve them from a “safe distance” to fight the good fight sometimes from the trenches. We’ll celebrate together in the sun when the good fight is won.

How do I know? They told me so.

Riverwest Currents online edition – April, 2006