I would stomp my feet ALL the way to my room. Where I would then slam the door and say, "I can't believe you are doing this to me! You are ruining my lifeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Then I would blare Backstreet Boys and cry myself to bed. Because my life was so bad...(not!).
I remember a few times my mother would calmly assure me, "Be happy you have a roof over your head and food on the table, Ashley."
I told her I didn't care about roofs and food. Dramatic, much?
I did care about roofs and food. I am so thankful that I never struggled like some of the children in the world today. I should have been more thankful. I should have realized there really are kids who go through every single day with no beds, no roofs, and little food. Kids in my own neighborhood lived this way, and I was too worried about staying at my friends house to care or notice.
I can proudly say I've grown up since then and while I do regret my illogical thoughts and expressions as ridiculous teenager, I am happy that my mother always set me straight. And I am sure I will always assure my children they should be happy they have food on the table and a roof over their head. If don't believe me, well -I will tell stories about the young children I am about to meet through tutoring in homeless shelters.
Tonight, I went to Indy School on Wheels to learn more about tutoring in homeless shelters in Indianapolis.
The statistics I learned tonight were shocking.
- More than 3,000 kids are considered homeless each year in Indy.
- The number of homeless children in Indy increased 78% within the last year.
- Children alone make up 30% of the city's homeless population.
- Homeless children are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.
- Homeless children are four times more likely to have learning disabilities than their non-homeless peers.
The overall goal of SOWs extends beyond just helping children answer math problems or write a creative essay for class. It boils down to giving them the confidence and skills to succeed in their educational journey, so that 12 years later they aren't back in a homeless shelter with their own children.
I'm excited for this new opportunity in life and to pay it forward. Who knows? I might even inspire a young kid to start their own blog. I'm okay for some friendly competition...