There's a part of me that wants answers to questions that I fear have no easy answers.

I sat one day and listened to a teenager girl advise another teenage girl on how to "do right by her baby." Essentially, it amounted to signing up for every government aid program available--WIC, food stamps, etc. Why not just, I don't know, get a job? Graduate high school, get a better paying job? Be productive and not look for a hand-out?

Did I mention that both girls were wearing clothes more expensive than me? Me with my masters degree, full time job, and zero dependents I can claim on my tax return.

I chatted today with a former student. Actually, chatted isn't the right word. My heart broke over her. She should be graduating in May. She won't be.She doesn't have the credits for it--she doesn't have the credits to be in 10th grade. There's a baby story in there, as well as a family that sees little importance in education. I want her to graduate. I'll do whatever I can. She doesn't know how to use a computer, so even fast food jobs are limited for her. I think she wants better for herself and her baby. But how do you get it when no one who is supposed to love you tells you that you can have it? When no one at home thinks it's important?

I wasn't raised in a house like that. I don't know what it's like to grow up in home that doesn't want you to be successful, productive. That doesn't want you to feel good about who you are and your hopes and dreams. And now, because she doesn't know any better, will her child ever feel the way I did growing up--that the world is full of limitless opportunity, if you just look.

How do you take care of those kids when you can't get them into a school building? And not because they are resistant, but because you can't get through to Mom and Dad. I feel like I've failed her somehow.
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