Wednesday, April 27, 2005

latesha 2

i was having my semi annual city audit and while i waiting for the audit, i knew my attention span was minimal so i took advantage of the time and cleaned my office. Monday, i saw Latesha in the office doing a whole lot of nothing... she is on spring break and staying with her cousin NOT her mom...

i asked if she could help me... she labled folders while i sorted paper and we filed stuff.. She and i talked.. She is an immature 17 year old in some ways.. telling me about things in her world.. her school, talking about her friends like i knew them.. She called their names like we talked about them before..younger teens do that more often..

then as i asked her to write DAS.. Designated Assessment Service, the program that i manage.. she asked about DAS...and explained she knew DAS and other kids she knows are clients of DAS..i asked if the group members she attends with are DAS or PINS kids.. She said NO DAS...their parents have AIDS.. i explained that social workers and social services agencies use acronyms and DAS also stands for Department of AIDS services.
she is a bright kid who knew the word acronym and is slated for calculus next year..

she explained that she was raised by her grandmother who died two years ago.. Her father died of AIDS when she was 7 and he was a DAS clients.. She was familiar with ACQC- Aids center of queens county.. she knew the impact of aids and saw the worst..
when her grandmother died, she had to go live with her mom.. She and her mom, who lives in a shelter and has a history of substance abuse and having her kids taken from her.. Latesha has been removed from her mom when she was young.. Latesha prefers to live with her grandmother but cant because she is dead..

i spent the morning with this young woman..she and i talked about blank discs and disc holders.. i knew she was interested in the ones i had and needed blank discs.. she said she gets em from school whenever she can... I handed her one and a disc case. and hten a spare disc.. She earned her discs..
it didnt feel like she was asking for payment or manipulating me to get there.. this is a kids who is skilled at getting what she needs from where she can...
i offered willingly... she hinted but didnt ask.. i could have refused the hint or shot her down...

this kids needs a team of people to go to bat for her.. or support her efforts. and i an be one of those people