On Wednesday, September 19th, I went to Open Doors Academy at Miles Park. There, I met two eighth grade boys, Jaelyn and De'Andre. Jaelyn really enjoys art but seemed a bit withdrawn, whereas De'Andre loves reading and talked for the entire time I was there. Both boys had finished their homework, so I tried to give the two a little bit of enrichment. Jaelyn was hesitant so I kept my distance. De'Andre wanted to learn about volcanoes, so we looked up mud bowls and watched videos showing them. De'Andre had to leave about fifteen minutes before I left, but Jaelyn took his place and we continued to watch videos.
Both boys told me they want to join the military; De'Andre wants to go into the Army, and Jaelyn wants to go into the Navy. De'Andre said he wants to fight for this country, and I felt that he was truly the embodiment of American pride. Most of Jaelyn's family has been in the military, so he wants to follow in the footsteps of his relatives.
I was really taken aback by these boys. They are both so intelligent and inspiring. Jaelyn's hesitancy worries me; he seemed troubled. I don't know what kind of life he has lived, and what he has seen. I know both boys have a completely different background than me, and that I am very privileged in comparison to them. I got to know more about De'Andre, and he is so open and honest. He loves traveling and being with his family. I am interested to know more about Jaelyn. I hope he comes to open up more. He asked if I would be there every Wednesday, and when I told him I would be for the next couple months, he seemed a little happy by that, which is a relief for me. Truthfully, I don't know how to mentor these boys. They lead such a different life than I have, but for the first day, I think it was a success.