D. Qasim Moore, MHS, MAT, is Program Manager of Project HOME’s Kate’s Place residence in Center City Philadelphia. He shares this beautiful reflection on our young people.
In recent years, we have often seen news segments reporting on Center City students involved in some type of mayhem – flash mobs, fighting, shoplifting and or disorderly conduct. This contributes to very negative public attitudes about Philadelphia students and young people in general.
As a former Director of Security of a Philadelphia Charter High School, I am all too familiar with some of the growing pains that student are faced with during this development period. In addition, my wife, who is a high school teacher, and I have raised children in the Philadelphia school system. We both have personal/professional experience with some of the detours students can take along the way. More importantly, we understand the balance needed between acknowledgement of positive and negative achievements/behavior.
So it is important to highlight different stories of students – such as a recent episode when students were “caught in the act of doing good.”
In the early evening of last December 21, four high school students (Jada W., Ciara C., Imani T., and Cidney H.) from Freire Charter High School (located at 2027 Chestnut Street) came to Project HOME’s Kate’s Place residence, just a few blocks from their school. They had escorted a tenant who resides at Kate’s Place into our lobby area. The students informed the receptionist that they had witnessed the tenant fall at the bus stop at the corner of Chestnut and 20th Street. She fell face first, they explained, breaking her glasses and getting a large gash over her eyebrow. Seeing how disoriented she was, they came up to her, helped her get her bearings, and offered to assist her by walking her home. Although bloody and embarrassed she was grateful for their assistance.
Even though the tenant wishes to remain anonymous, the management and staff of Kate’s Place felt like these students should be recognized. We contacted Nick Fels, Head of School at Freire Charter, and shared the story and our profound gratitude to and respect for these students.
Our thanks to Jada, Ciara, Imani, and Cidney for your compassion support for our resident, and for the inspiration you provided to our staff. Even without knowing it, you express a core value and mission of Project HOME, which is to foster a community where we recognize the dignity of each person. In a time when we can be flooded with bad news and negative images of some groups of people, you restore our faith in our youth and in humanity as a whole.
We believe this story should be shared widely – we need to recognize students when they are caught in the act of doing something good!