Between the Lines

Random reflections from the youth in a juvenile correctional facility.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Am a Still River that Runs Deep

Students completed a worksheet using the I Am Model as a writing guide.

I AM (Model)

I am (two special characteristics you have)
I wonder (something you are actually curious about)
I hear (an imaginary sound)
I want (an actual desire)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I pretend (something you actually pretend to do)
I feel (a feeling about something imaginary)
I touch (an imaginary touch)
I worry (something that really bothers you)
I cry (something that makes you very sad)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I understand (something you know is true)
I say (something you believe in)
I dream (something you actually dream about)
I try (something you really make an effort about)
I hope (something you actually hope for)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I am a lone skater
I wonder what’s out there for me
I hear the music of the world
I see different sights in different cities
I want to have a hiding spot
I am a lone skater

I pretend I don’t need help
I feel for people that have it worse
I touch people’s hearts with my words
I worry about my family
I cry when I get hurt
I am a lone skater

I understand my friends
I say be calm and let it ride out
I dream that everything will be ok
I try to do it on my own
I hope for everlasting peace
I am a lone skater

I am a listener and I help people when I can
I wonder how I will turn out in life
I hear my destiny calling
I see paradise ahead of me
I want to amount to something
I am a listener and I help people when I can

I pretend to have everything I need
I feel trapped and unable to escape
I touch long magical beasts
I worry things won’t go as planned
I cry when nobody wants to help me out
I am a listener and I help people when I can

I understand what needs to be done
I say do what you have to to get by
I dream on being someone someday
I try to understand other people
I hope things will work out
I am a listener and help people when I can

I am an honest person
I wonder what would the world be without me
I hear people calling me by my name
I see angels surrounding me
I want to be honest and respected
I am an honest person

I pretend to be flying
I feel like an angel coming down to save you
I touch my heart and think about you
I worry that I will not find you ever.
I cry every day
I am a special person to you

I understand your feelings for me
I say that I love you and miss you
I dream about you everyday
I try to imagine you being here with me
I hope that we could be reunited soon
I am the love of your life

I am smart and good looking
I wonder how my family is doing
I hear an echo
I see unicorns
I want to stay home and do good plus change the way I act sometimes
I am smart and good looking

I pretend to hide things from people
I feel like a dragon
II touch a mermaid
I worry when people tell me what to do
I cry when I am away from home without my family
I am smart and good looking

I understand why my grampa died
I say that I will always love my family and be there for them when they need
I dream about being an electrician, plumber and landscaper
I try to complete this program so I can be home with my family I love
I hope that I can make my parents proud because they want me to do good in this program so I can go home and hopefully stay at home.
I am smart and good looking.

I am the best rapper alive
I wonder if I'm going to live to 25
I hear D-block and Jay-Z
I see myself chilling with my family
I am the best rapper alive

I pretend that I'm in the NBA
I feel that I can make it by being a rapper
I touch ones, tens, fifties, and hundreds
I worry about my friends and family
I cry when somebody close to me dies
I am the best rapper alive

I understand that it's not easy being a single parent
I say it is what it is
I dream about becoming rich
I try to stack as much bread as I can
I hope that my uncle comes home on appeal
I am the best rapper alive

I am a smart gentleman
I wonder how I become who I am
I hear that people who try succeed
I see barbed wire
I want money
I am a boss
I pretend nothing
I feel pain
I touch everything
I worry about life
I cry alone
I am a person

I understand most of everything
I say nothing
I dream about the world
I try hard to make it
I hope I get far in life
I am a man

I am a geek and I'm weak
I wonder why I can't speak
I hear my mom yelling
I see my sister crying
I want to help her
I am Cody

I pretend to be a good kid
I feel anger
I touch my face
I worry about the group
I cry when I'm mentally weak
I am Cody

I understand I'm locked up
I say things to my mom
I dream of coming home
I hope I'll make it
I am Cody

I am tall and strong
I wonder about my cousin
I hear the old things he used to say to me
I want my past family to reunite in the future
I am tall and strong

I pretend to be flying
I feel like I have super powers
I though the bottom of the sea
I worry about my mother
I cry when I think about my grandma
I am tall and strong

I understand my past things I did were wrong
I say that me and the Lord will meet one day
I dream about my family and friends
I try to do my best in school
I hope my mother can get better
I am tall and strong

I am tall and strong
I wonder if there is really life beside earth
I hear God talking to me
I see my kid going to college
I want to be a dentist
I am tall and strong

I pretend to be home
I feel my mother's touch
I touch the sky
I worry about life working good for me
I cry when I think about my son
I am tall and strong

I understand that I am at Loysville
I say it's ok…it's not for long
I dream about fast cars and big houses
I try to do good
I hope my son don't grow up like me
I am tall and strong

I am unique and smart
I wonder what life after death is
I hear barks
I see love
I want a perfect family
I am unique and smart

I pretend to be crazy
I feel upset
I touch peoples' hearts
I worry about my son
I cry about not being with my son
I am unique and smart

I understand I have to be here
I say Allah is with me
I dream I will be a great father
I try to do my best
I hope my child is a great person
I am unique and smart

I am educated and talented
I wonder how the world is going to turn out in 10 years
I hear paper crumbling
I see different human races
I want the best for the world
I am educated and talented

I pretend like I don't care about the world
I feel like nothing no more
I touch every hand in the world
I worry about not seeing my family
I cry because I'm stuck in hurt
I am educated and talented

I understand why people are different
I say the world can change
I dream the world coming to peace
I try to change the way I misbehave
I hope my mother can see me on the stage
I am educated and talented

I am special
I wonder if I live to 100 years old
I hear the radiator at night
I see people everyday
I want a girl right now
I am in love with a girl

I pretend to joke
I feel sore
I touch food a lot
I worry about what's going to happen when I go home
I cry when my aunt died
I am going crazy

I understand what my mom tells me
I say what's up a lot to folks
I dream about girls
I try to play soccer
I hope I make it through life
I am smart at everything I do.

I am brave and courageous
I wonder how long I will live
I hear echoes
I see fame
I want to be a rap artist
I am brave and courageous

I pretend to be at home
I feel like I'm here for a reason
I touch the future
I worry when I will leave Loysville
I cry when there is a family funeral
I am brave and courageous

I understand people live and die
I say what goes around comes around
I dream of being a rapper
I try to stay focused on me
I hope to get my family a better place to stay
I am brave and courageous

I am powerful and honest
I wonder if I'll have a boy or girl
I hear dragons flying
I see mermaids
I want to get out of here
I am powerful and honest

I pretend that I'm okay
I feel the heat of the dragon fire
I touch the dragon's tail
I worry if my brother's okay
I cry about the death of my older brother
I am powerful and honest

I understand I got to finish the program
I say what goes around comes around
I dream about me and baby and girl will have a good life
I try to stay focused on getting out of here
I hope to be successful
I am powerful and honest

I am Garland
I wonder about my life
I hear things that I see
I see a lot
I want a lot of money
I am Garland

I pretend I'm free
I feel good
I touch a lot
I worry about my family
I cry sometimes
I am a human

I understand my family
I say bad words
I dream at night
I try to stay out of trouble
I hope I go home
I am whatever you say I am

I am lazy and funny
I wonder why we're here
I hear voices
I see people
I want to go home
I am lazy and funny

I pretend to be somebody I'm not
I feel angry
I touch the sky
I worry about my family
I cry when I think about home
I am lazy and funny

I understand why we breathe
I say screw the government
I dream that I die
I try to get out of here
I hope I will leave soon
I am lazy and funny

I am black and white
I wonder why I am the way I am
I hear voices that are in constant flux
I see my last breath
I want to die by fire
I am a nihilist

I pretend that I am the wolves
I feel translucid
I touch my death's hand
I worry about apathy
I cry because no one else will
I am watching from a crucifix

I understand how I don't want to live life
I say what if feels like to be free
I dream neon black anarchy
I try to love my end
I hope the system fails
I am God

I am sad and lonely
I wonder when the world will end
I hear voices that are driving me crazy
I see what no other can see
I want to die a painful death
I am what you would call suicidal

I pretend that no other can touch me
I feel loneliness deep down inside
I touch my addiction to ending life
I worry how I will like my last breath
I cry until my eyes bleed red
I am what you would call suicidal

I understand what my higher power tells me
I say what will result in good
I dream of living in an afterlife
I try to end life so pleasantly
I hope someday I will live happily in heaven
I am what you would call suicidal

I am fantastically smart
I wonder what it's like dying
I hear dead people
I see monsters
I want a mansion
I am fantastically smart

I pretend to fly
I feel creative
I touch the clouds
I worry about my sister and mom
I cry when people die
I am fantastically smart

I understand I am black
I say I'm going to survive
I dream about my dad dying
I try so hard to leave LYDC
I hope I could be successful
I am fantastically smart

I am wonderful
I wonder when I will get out
I hear screaming
I see people that are dead
I want a girl I can stick with
I am wonderful

I pretend to have fun
I feel worried
I touch air
I worry about my sister
I cry when I think about my cousin
I am wonderful

I understand that I will not always get what I want
I say faith
I dream of having a baby boy
I try to do good
I hope I will stay out of lockup
I am wonderful

I am outgoing and kind
I wonder about my future
I hear people
I see my mom
I am outgoing and kind

I pretend to like certain things
I feel people like me
I touch a lot of things with my hands
I worry about my future
I cry very rarely
I am outgoing and kind

I understand what I am trying to do in life
I say things don't bother me
I dream about being home
I try to get along with people
I hope I can go home soon
I am outgoing and kind.

I am curious and imaginative
I wonder why I can't fly
I hear noises of water
I see waves of air
I am curious and imaginative

I pretend that I'm outside
I feel scared
I touch Braille
I worry about nothing
I cry about everything
I am curious and imaginative

I understand life
I say peace and love
I dream about magic carpets
I try to keep on rockin' in the free world
I am curious and imaginative

I am quiet and helpful
I wonder about getting locked up
I hear cars
I see sexy girls
I want a BMW
I am quiet and helpful

I pretend to know things I don't know
I feel like going to Miami
I touch money
I worry about going to court
I cry because my mom is gone
I am quiet and helpful

I understand that people pass away
I say what goes around comes around
I dream about getting killed
I try writing letters
I hope I make it to the age of 25
I am quiet and helpful

I am outgoing and smart
I wonder what happens after death
I hear animals
I see death
I want money
I am outgoing and smart

I pretend to be cool
I feel depression
I touch water
I worry about my family
I cry about life
I am outgoing and smart

I understand life
I say I'm bad
I dream of love'
I try hard
I hope to get out of lock-up
I am outgoing and smart

I am tall and big
I wonder how to paint
I hear music
I see fantasy
I want to be a sponsored skateboarder
I am tall and big

I pretend to sleep
I feel strongly
I touch an apple
I worry about death
I cry being locked up
I am tall and big

I understand I can be what I want to be
I say I don't want to die
I dream of skateboarding
I try to be a really good skater
I hope to be a pro skater
I am tall and big

I am a good person
I wonder if life is going to change
I hear my mother say I love you
I see life as nothing but time
I want a big house and 13 cars
I am my father's son and I am always going to be that

I pretend I am flying
I feel so in love
I touch my son as he is sleeping
I worry about if my son is going to be like me
I cry because I can't see my son grow up to be gig
I am a good father to my son and I love him

I understand life comes too fast
I say life is nothing but a game
I dream I am dying in life
I try to do my best in life as a son, father, and boyfriend
I hope to go home to my old life
I am life and life is what makes me

I am respectful and kind
I wonder about when I am going to go home
I hear sounds that tell me the way home
I see what I have to do to go home
I am respectful and kind

I pretend to be a doctor
I feel so happy with my life
I touch books to learn things
I worry if I will make it one day
I cry losing things I love
I am respectful and kind

I understand I will get out in July
I say I will not get locked up again
I dream of having a family and staying out of trouble
I try to get my program over with and work hard
I hope for freedom and a good life
I am respectful and kind

I am cool and positive
I wonder when I'll get out and how much I'll go through
I hear car exhaust
I see cars
I want to get out
I am cool and positive

I pretend to learn from this program
I feel crazy
I touch my girl
I worry how my family's doing
I cry because of my family
I am cool and positive

I understand I'm going to be here for a while
I say it is true
I dream about getting out
I try to change
I hope for freedom
I am cool and positive

I am calm and take my time
I wonder when I'm going home
I hear new things each day
I see things in everyday life
I want to be there for my son
I am calm and take my time

I pretend to do more than I can
I feel left out
I touch other feelings
I worry about my family
I cry when someone dies
I am calm and take my time

I understand how it feels to be a man
I say how I feel
I dream of my son
I try to do my best
I hope to make it in life
I am calm and take my time

I am easy to get along with and down to earth
I wonder where I'll be in 20 years
I hear drums from a band
I see lots of people tearing stuff up in a pit
I want to be a rock superstar, live in a big house and have five cars
I am easy to get along with and down to earth

I pretend to be retired on a big boat in the ocean
I feel excited when I imagine me retired
I touch a Jeep with a lift kit on it
I worry that something is going to happen to someone I love
I cry over spilt milk
I am easy to get along with and down to earth

I understand I'll be out of here some day
I say life can only get better if you want it to
I dream of being free
I try to be the best I can be
I hope that everything's going to work out
I am easy to get along with and down to earth

I am black and independent
I wonder where life is going to lead me
I hear the songs of God
I see my guardian angel looking down at me
I want to see life for what it's worth
I am black and independent

I pretend I'm dead and there's nothing else
I feel I can hid my face from the face of the earth
I touch death when I'm all alone
I worry that I'll meet my death before I see the light
I cry when it seems like God shows no mercy
I am independent and full of death

I understand that life ain't no game
I say when you reach something you work for never let it go
I dream about death for every death there's a new beginning
I try to stay clear from my emotions
I hope one day I can see life as everyone sees it
I am a man of wonder and independent at that

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Aim for Success, Not Perfection

Write a paragraph on what the following quotation means to you:

"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life." ~~David M. Burns

To me it means to keep trying. Like in sk8 boarding if you fall, get up and try again. Don't give up your goal. If you fall, you work on what you did wrong and you will get better at the trick. Learn from your mistakes. JR

You need not go so far because you will fail, but you will learn from failing. When you fail you will have a hard time building back up the power to succeed in life. Also you need failure to learn new things. And another thing is if you don’t try to work towards success you will never whatsoever stride to new things. So what this is saying to do is not to lose ability to move on with your life. TR

What this quotation means to me is it’s telling me not to give up and also about that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and don’t never say “I can’t.” No one in this world is perfect, but you can do or be anything you want in life. It’s also telling me to move forward and accomplish all your goals to move on to new goals.. Also, if you make mistakes and you get consequences you learn new things. If you don’t learn new things you will never move forward with your life and succeed in a better life. KJ

Giving up your right to be wrong to someone will make you lose the ability because they would take advantage of you. When I gave up my right to a policeman, at court I got hit hard with a charge. It messed me up by me getting put in jail and going through a lot of unnecessary things. If this would of never happened, I would of probably played a smart way and move forward with my life. When I got out, I did the same again, thinking I wouldn’t get caught, and I got arrested again. Now that I’ve learned my lesson I will have a better life and go for my goals not doing stuff from the past. SR

It is saying that you should aim for your best and not do what you would do that would bet you in trouble. And do whatever floats your boat. And keep your mind on things that would help you in life. And if you do something wrong, move on with your life and learn from your mistakes. GB

To me that means to never give up. And that I should always be open to learn new things. I should have faith in myself. And to also let myself know that I’m wanting to learn new things. And I would like to learn new things and to go in the right direction. And it is also telling me that if I’m wrong to just say I’m wrong and move on with my life. AP


Another quote has been added to this writing assignment:
"I've failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." -- Michael Jordan , basketball legend

I agree because when you fail more than once it's never right to give up. The most important thing in life is to get back up and try again. In my life I failed in a lot of things that could have lead me in a negative way, but eventually I still haven't given up and I'm staying focused to moving up in life. Also, I want to correct all the things I failed in and try them. Those who fail and don't try again, don't ever succeed in life. JL

I done some things in my life that I had to learn from but some time I kept doing the same thing over and over until I saw I needed to stop and learn from it because if I don't, I am always going to get locked up. RA

This means to me that without mistakes you will not learn, and if you think you are perfect you are not realizing you're making mistakes so in that saying you are not learning. You should know that you made a mistake. No one can take that away from you so you are learning. GD

The quote means to me that if you don't make mistakes you won't learn so don't ever think because you make mistakes you are failing, because you are really learning. JP

Just try to succeed in life not try to be perfect. If you try to be perfect and try to get it all you will fail. Don't think you're too good to be wrong. Suck it up and take it. Broaden your horizons and open your eyes to new things. Always be good and keep on going to be the best you can be. We all need to make mistakes to learn the rights and wrongs. If you never make mistakes then you'll think you are so perfect. Don't think that making mistakes is really bad. NC

I think it means to keep your head up and don't never give up. If you never give up it will show that you have tried and you want to make something positive. I have to keep on trying to succeed because it does get hard and giving up shouldn't be an option. I believe anyone can do good and fail also but you have to keep on trying and trying over and over. SB

I think this journal topic means like that in order to be successful everything you do to achieve that goal doesn't have to be perfect cause nobody's perfect. And it also says that everybody's wrong sometimes and makes mistakes and we learn new things off of our mistakes and move on after them. JS

Think the quote is stating that if you think you're right all the time then you're not going to listen to what people have to say that might be right. The people who do this is an irrational thinker and has no chance for future success. That is why I can admit when I'm wrong and listen to the people that I think is or might be right. JA

Look to succeed in life. Even the small things. Don't try to make it perfect, just make it work, make it right, don't try to make it seem like you know everything and are perfect. Never be who you aren't, be who you are. You're not perfect until you are simply you. SS

When I come in a situation that is hard I don't care about doing the best that everybody has ever done. Just do it to have a good time and get done whatever you get done. If I took up too much time trying to be perfect I will drive myself crazy and will never get anything done. CH

I think that this quote is saying that give it all you can in life to make it successful but don't try to go through life without challenges because everybody makes mistakes in life. It's just you have to learn to get over the things that will hold you back. Just move forward and accept it as it comes and it will help you. BA

I means that it's okay to be wrong because everyone's human and mistakes is a part of life. We learn from the mistakes by knowing not to do it again and again. Some are worse than others, but even judges, police, even the government - things happen and no one is perfect but God. JP

I agree because it's saying it is alright to fail because when you fail it is not always a bad thing. You can learn from your mistakes and so the next time when you face that problem you can benefit. JS

What I think that means is that person wants you to be successful in life without having any major problems like getting charged for something you did. Also, he wants you to do good so you don't have to get into any trouble like breaking the law. Also, he wants you to learn from your mistakes and move on and do better this time without screwing up and doing stupid stuff. Also, doing good gets you good things; doing bad gets you bad things that you don't want to do or get caught for. Also, he's saying not to give up on yourself because you have the right to speak your opinion if they don't like it then tell them to leave. Also he is saying that if you make a wrong mistake/decision and you just throw everything you have to work for, that is just giving up because you got caught for something and don't care and you don't want to to a place that you never been before and don't like. WC

I agree because I do things that are not successful sometimes and I don't learn from. It makes me feel I am not moving forward with my life. I go for the success all the time but if it doesn't go out or come out the way I want it to be, I'm the type of guy that tells himself you need to do things right and start thinking what could happen if you don't. RA

In this world it's best to learn from your mistakes because it leads you to get far in life. Every time that I made a mistake I always thought that it was not wrong, but it took me a long time to realize it. When you give up and don't learn from your mistakes you will always do the same thing over again expecting a different result. Eventually the best thing to do is to learn from the mistakes that you made in life and don't do them again. The really important thing that matters is that you learn from what's right and wrong in life. JL

What it means to me is that what you do and that you are having difficulty on is that don't give up. For success, like anything, it says is to never give up your right. I'll never give up my right, it's meaning that you should stand for what's right to you, and what you going to go along with. Because if you give up on your right, you might get used to doing so, you might adjust to doing that and what it says i

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kindness and Justice Challenge

Kindness and Justice Challenge

Two websites to stimulate thinking about volunteerism, activism and peace:

The Martin Luther King Kindness and Justice Challenge

40 Days of Peace

What experience have you had doing something to help others that has taught you something important? Maybe helping to clean up your neighborhood, for example, taught you that team work is important. Write a short chapter from your autobiography to detail this experience.

Tips for Writing a Personal Narrative
Because this writing is about one of your experiences, write from the first-person point of view, using words like I and me.

Tell the story as if you are experiencing it, including sensory details to draw your readers into the story and make them feel a part of it.

Your story will be easier to understand if you write the events in order from beginning to end. Using words like first, second, then, next, and finally will help readers keep track of what happens.

The last sentence or two of your narrative should provide some conclusion, such as what you learned from an experience. Be careful not to leave your readers "hanging," wondering what the end of the story is.

The way I experience kindness is to be respectful I treat people the way I want to be treated. I think that is a good way to start and build a good relationship with a person. The next thing is to be truthful. I think that it’s always good to help others. The reason is because everybody needs help sometime and you never know when you are going to need it one day. I think it’s good to help people because you have a sense of achievement that you helped someone achieve their goal. That is some of the reasons that I do what I do. JA

An experience I had doing something to help someone was helping the person to avoid a problem with a peer. It taught me that I could do it too whenever I had a problem. It also worked because the person that I taught left the program successful. SR

Something that I experienced was baby-sitting for my aunt and uncle while they were out. Their kids were 4 and 6. They were annoying and hyperactive. First, I had to think of something to calm them down so they weren’t jumping around everywhere. So I gave them both warm milk to have them sleepy. Next, I turned on the TV so we could all relax. After they fell asleep on the couch, I took them both to their beds quietly. Finally, I went back to the couch, turned on the TV channel to music videos and relaxed until my aunt and uncle got back home. All of them hours babysitting taught me not to have kids until I’m ready to take responsibility for them. Right now I’m a little too young and still have years to learn how to be a great father. CW

I have helped others by experience and I know that some things that I did in my life were wrong so I take that and help my little brothers on my case load so they could go home just like I am about to next month. I learned by learning from others could not only help me but teach me to help others. AS


In my life I helped a lot of people who didn’t know how to do things. I learned by helping others that it’s very respectful thing and also you could accomplish a lot of things in life. The most important thing that I learned in life is the caring/appreciation that I have for others and they have for me for being kind to them. For me helping them out they show me respect all the time and they know they could depend on me at all times. JL

I have helped people move things out of their house, like moving furniture, beds, kitchenware, etc. It taught me something important…that helping people out like elderly people is not a bad thing. It is a good thing because people will look at you as respectful, kind and a helpful man. Also people might thank him/her for helping him/her out. Maybe some people will give that person money because you helped that person out that really needed your help, attitude, kindness, respectfulness, and caring person. WC

I help my ex-girl go through life because her mom and dad did not help that much as I did for her. She needs help with school and her job. She will call me and we would talk about how she could handle her problems without me. But, it taught me you could help people you know and love. RA

When I was at home when my friends would have trouble I would talk to them because I understand what they’re saying since I been through a lot and I heard kids say stuff there is like nothing I never heard yet. JS

When I help my sister out I feel good because I get to know her more so when I have a child and can treat them the same way like my sister. I help her ride her bike. I help her with school work. I help her so she knows what to do when she grows up. JT

The experience I had was good sometimes and not good sometimes. But my good experience I have done made me feel good and I thought to myself that giving a hand is good iven if it’s the person you don’t like because in the long-run in life I never know if I might need help. So, because I help people out when they need it, it makes me feel good about myself. My bad experience I had was when I help somebody out and they turn around and treat me all mean not saying it’s hurt me, it’s just that they don’t got no respect for others. That’s my experience I had helping people. SB


I have shoveled some old lady’s snow. My first intention was to do it for money, then this guy came by and asked if I could just do it for free. She is an old lady. I was a little mad at first that he was trying to get me to shovel for free. But in the end I learned that not everything has to be not for your benefits. Do things just to be nice. CH

I lived with an older lady when I ran away from home. I helped her around the house and helped fix things. She would always try to give me money, but I never would take it. She told me once that I reminded her of her son that never came around. She said she enjoyed my company. I found out that I enjoy doing things for people far more than I enjoy doing things for money. SS

I helped others out with plowing their driveways and clean off their cars and I tell them that I don’t want anything in return. The point is that not everything in life has to be about money or other materials and that people remember the people that did something out of generosity more often than the person that only did it for the money. HC

What I have done that taught me a lot is when I helped my grandmom out with her groceries. I also have learned how to get respect from people because I have to give it. I have been taught a lot and learned how to deal with adversity. Dealing with adversity is important and shows a lot of patience. But my grandmom always told me to be respectful and patient in life. SB

I watched my little brother for my mom while she worked overtime. I learned that me and my mom will always need each other in one way or another. And I say that cause I used to think I ain’t need my mom and she ain’t need me. JS

I was trying to help my little sister with her homework. She just could not understand it. But I had to stop and think she is only 10 and she isn’t gonna get it right away. I learned I had to be patient and not get frustrated. NC

This one time I was in a store. I was looking at radios when two people came up to me. They said which one do you want so I ran and asked my pop. He said yes, so they bought me a radio. It made me feel that all people are not the same and there are some very generous people in the world. GD

While I was at home I helped my sister to understand adversity. Whil I was helping her I learned some things myself. People don’t understand the more you help the more you will understand it. My plans is to keep on helping so I can learn more and more every day. TR

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Hard Straight - No easy answers

A documentary about doing time on the outside
Director: Goro Toshima

The blog entry for this week is to watch the documentary and write comments on how you feel the topic was handled. For our blog readers, once you look at the following responses, do you feel that the juvenile justice system is preparing youth for a return to their communities? All comments will be greatly appreciated. BJB

Do you think the people in the documentary were victims of the prison/parole system? Explain why you think they were or weren’t.
No, because the parole officers would kep giving them chances but they would fail. RG

No, it was their choices to do what they did. They knew what they could and couldn’t do. TR

Yes, because once they go to prison it’s like they can’t stay out. LF

Yes, because they were violating their parole and they knew they needed to make a change. NB

No, they committed the crimes. TG

No, cause if they were then parole would have locked them back up without a real logical explanation. They got themselves into trouble. AD

I don’t think they were victims because they did the crime so they had to pay the time for what it was. SB

No, because they did bad things in their life. They been in trouble a lot, get locked up, using drugs, they are not victims. JT

Yes, because they had to report to the parole officer. MR

I don’t think they were victims. They just made bad choices. BP

Yes, the parole system took advantage of them and didn’t give them enough money for the outside. They can’t even walk down the street without getting burned. (BLK 10)

I think so because they could not stay out of prison because some of them couldn’t and didn’t have confidence or strength in themselves. JR

Because they give you just enough rope to hang yourself. KC

Yes, because they were in prison before. CW

Yes, because they had to do a lot of time to do and they didn’t have any place to live. RC

No, because they made their decisions to re-offend and go back to jail. The parole board was just doing their job. JB

In a way yes and in a way no, because they did what they did and the parole was keeping them from doing what they want. RA

Yes, because they did drugs and they broke the law. JS

No, they wasn’t. They was a victim of their own demise. They put themselves in that predicament. JP

No, because they put all that on themselves. JR

Yes, they got to put up with their bull shit. DL

Yes, because they could not get their life together. GB

Yes, because they weren’t doing the right thing. KL

I think the people was not victims. They just wasn’t trying to stay focused and not trying to get out of the system. JA

No, they have a choice. SS

No, they did things or put themselves in the negative situation. CH

No, because they did the things to get locked back up. DR

No, because they did what they did to get locked up. CH

No, cause what ever they did they chose to do. JS

I think they were not cause they were addicted to the streets. Parole is trying to help them. MA

No, because they were the ones putting themselves in that position. CW

Yes, it’s a set up for failure. VN

No, because they did something to get what they got. SB

Yes, should have had rehab/programs in lockup. No, it’s their own fault. (BLK 9)

No, because they put theirself in the situation. AS

Because they get out and they’re faced with strict rules and the parole system knows it’s hard to change. TR

Yes, because they were always in and out of jail, every time they said they wanted to change, they would end up messing up. SR

No, I think they did not think what they were doing and they got what was coming. GD

No, because they were locked up. AW

No, because they make the choice to do good or not and they want to keep putting theirself through it. NC

I think they weren’t because they put theirselves in trouble. AA

Do you think the people in the documentary will ever be successful on the outside and not get locked up again? Why will the people in the film be successful or return to prison?
I think they might change after their 13th time in prison. They might see that this life is not for them and their families. NB

Yes, because if they try hard and show they want to stay out they can do it. LF

I don’t know. You can never tell what someone is going to do. TR

I don’t know. It’s up to them to make the right decision to stay out of the system. RG

I think if the woman starts to think more about her kids and believes that she could make it, then she will. The other two men they going to keep on getting back locked up because they say that’s how their life is and how they are going to live it. AD

Yes, if they just get their head straight. TG

They will not be successful because they like going to jail. BP

I think that one out of every 3 would make it to me because some are messing up, drinking, smoking and other stuff. MR

Because if they want to change their life they can be successful. People return to prison because they feel like they can do what they want in the street. JT

I’m not sure if they will be successful, but I think they will, well the one girl. She’s going to stay out of prison. I’m not sure about the rest of them. SB

Most students felt that none of the people in the documentary would be successful. One felt Regina would succeed. (BLK 10)

No, they will return to prison because they stay with their friends and they do the same drugs JS

I think the guy who had his son will become successful because the only thing he has to do is do his drawing and tattooing. RM

Two of them yes, one of them no, because Smiley had a child and things going for him. And the girl wanted to change. But the other guyt didn’t know how to change. JB

Yes, if they make a good life and find a job. RC

No, because they do the same stuff. CW

Because that all they know is to be in prison they’re institutionalized. KC

I think that if they just forget about their past they will be successful in life. JR

I think they all could do it. They just got to set their minds to it. JR

They can be successful if they want to be. If they put their heart into it they can do anything. Just like us! We don’t have anything. We can come out with something. JP

I think yes but not Shep because he just don’t care. The others are trying to change. SB

Yes, it happened on the video. VN

I think only one of them will be successful…that’s the lady. The other two guys just kept going back to the same environment where they get in trouble. CW

Regina I think will but anything could happen. Smiley yes-his friends were trying to help him. Shep-no. He is a snail in and out of jail. MA

I think the girl will be successful cause she has support and money. The guys won’t cause one just don’t learn and the other can’t take the pressure. JS

No, because they haven’t learned their lesson yet. CH

I think some will make it and some won’t. DR

I think they will do good if they have something to live for and actually love it. CH

Yes. SS

If they get focused and try to do right the people might not go back to prison and they might because if you make a mistake and it was not intended to go that way. JA

Yes, they can change just like everybody else. KL

They could, but they got to work on it. GB

I say the Mexican dude will be successful. He got a son in his life and finally realize that prison ain’t for him. Gina finally saw the light. DL

No, because they are criminal thinking still. So they will go back to prison. AA

Some of them. They don’t seem to get it. They just want to do what they want. But I think for the most part yes they will. NC

Yes, they will one day to get more stories. AW

I think that they can all be successful as long as they recognize what they’re affecting and what they do wrong. GD

I think they all will be successful, but the only one that has me worried is Shep because he keeps messing up. All he needs to do is get his self a girl and a job. SR

Shep will go to prison again; Smiley goes to prison and gets out; Regina stays clean after her programs. TR

They’ll return to prison except for the girl. She’s doing good. AS

They all could succeed if they put their mind to it. Smiley and Shep probably won’t. (BLK 9)

Do you think some of the experiences you have had were shown in this documentary? Describe your experiences
Yes, but juvenile probation is a lot different and you don’t get that many chances. RG

Yes, I was in and out of placement for repeating the same crime. TR

Yes, having a PO and having to see him every week. LF

Yes, the part where they had violations for smoking and doing drugs. Violating probation. NB

No. TG

Yes, I did get back locked up for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. AD

My experiences was that I’d get out of the police station and be sent home. I will get locked back up and the judge got tired of seeing me. That’s how I used to be like. SB

Yes, because every time I am home I get in trouble and get locked up. I hang out with a lot of gang members. JT

No and yes because I like to drink, but not addicted. MR

No, because I try to do something with my life. BP

Drugs and alcohol, P.O.s treat unfairly, rules not realistic. (BLK 10)

I couldn’t stop hanging with my friends that were negative and went back to the past that left me locked up again. JR

Because when I come home I said I was going to stop smoking weed but I went right back to smoking. KC

No. CW

Well, I did the same stuff that they did, but am going to try to change and keep on moving with my life. RC

Yes, because every time I got out of placement I would hurt my parents again by using drugs and going back to placement. JB

Yes, when they had to be in the house at the time parole said to be in. RA

No. Battery and assault. JS

Yes, I had a kid and got locked up for robbery and never seen my son grow up. Now he is 1 ½ and I’m not there. JP

Yes, using drugs and gangs. JR

Yes, always violating my probation, living the streets, getting locked up. DL

No, except getting locked up again. GB

Yes, not wanting to stop smoking while on probation. KL

Yes, I’m up here for violating probation and getting back around the wrong kind of people. JA

Yes. SS

Yes, I had a problem with drug usage and always used when I got out. CH

No. DR

Yes, cause this is my 3rd placement and every time I go home I go back to the same thing. JS

Yes, usually I get locked up for violation and I hang out with gang members. MA

Break addictions and make money to survive. (BLK 9)

Keep on doing things over and over again. TR

Kind of similar to Smiley with a girl to stay with and get a job for music. SR

Yes, I smoked a lot of weed and I keep getting locked up for the same thing over and over. GD

No, not at all. AW

Yes, because I always say I won’t get in trouble and I do. Then I get locked up and say I won’t get locked up again, but I do. NC

If you want to be successful when you are released from Loysville, what are you going to have to do?
Worry about yourself and stay away from the old crowd that you used to hang around with and handle responsibilities. NB

I’m going to go back to school and get a job and use the things I learned here and make better choices. LF

I’m going to have to get a job and go back to school and get my diploma, stay away from alcohol. TR

To be successful you have to make sure you’re not getting into any negative behaviors and it will flat work out like you want it to. RG

Complete probation, go to school, get a job (good paying), move from Pennsylvania and go somewhere else where the system don’t know who I am. AD

Go into the real world with a strong positive mind set. TG

I don’t know. I’m not home yet. BP

Get a job and get my diploma. MR

I am going to school, stay out of trouble and do not hang out with gang members. JT

I’m getting a job and I’m going to play on a football team so that I’d have things to do. I’m going to take care of my nieces and sisters, be there for them. SB

Stay consistent, learn how to hang with different people, participate in LYDC treatment programs (BLK 10)

Choose better friends. JS

I’m going back to school, get a good job for myself and start doing my dancing and DJing for a life career. RA

One of the things that I think I’m going to have to stop hanging out with the same people I was. JB

Get a job and continue doing good. RC

To do good and stay out of trouble. CW

Handle my responsibilities so I can stay out. KC

I am going to stay away from negative people and try to do the things that are right for me to be successful in life. JR

Stay away from old people, places and things. JR

Move and start fresh with a job and go to college. JP

Stay away from my old friends. SB

Get a job and live life. VN

Change my behavior and my surroundings and stay away from negative peers. CW

Try to get away from my hood or something. MA

Stay away from negative stuff. JS

Stop stealing. CH

Get new friends. DR

Look at how things affected me, look at what I have to live for, care for myself and my family. CH

Do what I don’t show or do in here. SS

Stay focused and do positive things and not try to get involved with negative people. JA

Stay away from the illegal stuff and stay positive. KL

Work hard. GB

Get a job, stay out of trouble, try not to VPO. DL

Stay out of trouble and negativity. AP

Try really hard. I am going to have to occupy my time to the fullest. Go to college. Just stay strong and keep occupied. NC

Get a job, go to school and pick the right friends. AW

I am going to play football and keep myself occupied so I do not get in trouble. GD

Get me a good girl to keep me out of trouble, work on my GED and career links, and get a good paying job. Also start up making music and sing. SR

Stay away from negative situations and respect authority. TR

Just not get involved with drugs or other charges. AS

Listen to PO, family/select people, places, friends and who you associate with. Get a job. (BLK 9)