Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why Program?

There are some weeks when I look at my low levels of attendance at a particular program, or I get just one too many eye rolls from the teenagers abusing their computer privileges, and I wonder, "Why do something for a group that doesn't even want anything done for them?"

If they really don't want me around, then why bother?

And then there are days like today.

I walked into the classroom of teen moms. A few rolled their eyes at my pink sweater and flat shoes. Others just kind of yawned when they saw I was from the library. Two girls who met with me last month, though, hurried over to see what books I'd brought, what advice I had to offer. Soon, the other girls caught on that something interesting was about to happen, and they sat down to listen.

The conversation started out slowly. I gathered some information from the girls who had completed a homework assignment from the last session. The two talked excitedly about the books they've read for fun, the books they read to their babies and books in general. Another girl said reading just wasn't "her thing" and so she didn't read.

Since this particular session focused on collge and careers, I started out asking the girls what they want to do after high school.

That classroom contained one future doctor, at least two future nurses, a merchandise buyer, a pre-school teacher, a police officer and a cosmetologist. These girls have dreams, some more definite and thought out than others, but dreams nonetheless.

As the girls left to go to their next class, they called out their requests for next time: more information on scholarship programs, cosmetology careers and child development. The two teachers called out their thanks, and I walked to my car filled with joy.

This is why we program for teens.

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