August 7, 2008

Journey for Change Notebook: August 6, 2008

Posted: 06:26 PM ET

Editor’s Note: Thirty kids, ages 12 to 16, from Bushwick, Brooklyn, were chosen to participate in “Journey for Change,” a youth empowerment program created by Malaak Compton-Rock. We’ve asked them to share their experiences by blogging about the changes they expect to bring about in others and hope to see in themselves.

Today was a great day. We got to go to breakfast in our pajamas. We left our resort at 10:30AM and the first place we went was a home in Diepsloot. The Grandmother was a part of HOPE Worldwide, so she had most of the things she needed. After, we went to OVC Kids Club (OVC stands for Orphans and Vulnerable Children). Some of the time I was interacting with the kids, but I was really stepping most of the time. During the program the mentees in the lemon heads, which is the name of my team on this trip, did a step for all the kids. It was fun today and I wish it didn’t end.

- Imaan Williams, 12

Today all the teams went to Diepsloot to visit families that were previously helped by HOPE Worldwide. The first house we visited was a granny lead household. They had a very nice house. The sad thing about having a house with nice things, they told us, is there have been a lot of robberies happening. I felt bad. The next house was lead by a granny also. She had hard times feeding her family. She had many people living in three or four rooms. I felt her strength and happiness when I gave her my lunch. I felt warm inside also. Later we went to the school and played with the children. They were adorable. We sang, talked, played games and shared. At the end we passed out goody bags and showed them dance moves and they showed us back. After we came back to the resort and had free time. FUN! Now we are writing.
P.S. I saw a vulture today! Freaky.

- Sydney Small, 12

Yolaine Calixte, 16, plays with children outside of ‘granny-led’ home in Diepsloot
Yolaine Calixte, 16, plays with children outside of ‘granny-led’ home in Diepsloot

Today and yesterday were like two of the best days ever. My group had so much fun. We went to a granny led home and we talked to her and we sang songs with her when we gave her all the stuff she needed. She was so happy when she received the stuff. I also felt happy when I saw the smile on her face. After we came from her house we went to this school. It was so nice there except for the bathroom. It was horrible in there. There were no doors and it smelled worse than a baby after it poops. I promised myself I will never go in that bathroom again. Other than the bathroom it was a pretty good school. They also performed for us which was really good. My favorite part was when they did a play. They can really act. It was so cool. I also liked it when they were dancing. They were pretty good. I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward for the rest of my days here.

- Vandesha Walker, 12

Today was a good day for me but not like yesterday. Yesterday was so cool. It was the best so far since I came here. I had so much fun when we went to a school and we saw a lot of things. We saw an African play. We saw a dance and sang some songs. Africa has so many talented people. We also gave food to some of the houses we went to see. I was so happy that day.

- Jonathan Severe, 14

Filed under: Journey for Change • Soledad OBrien

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Bakari   August 5th, 2009 10:25 am ET

I live in Green Bay Wisconsin and I see a racial divide every day in the community Blacks have no voice here and niether do any other of the minorities I really wish CNN could come here and show the world how bad things are here.

Juan   November 5th, 2009 12:28 pm ET

Journey for change is a great program. However, academically some of the students did not fare well when they returned to school. Several of the students need tutoring and the development of study skills. If turtors are added to the program during the week and on Saturday, I think they will achieve more with this type of support. Keep up the great work to help our youth succeed in school/life.

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