Jimmy is at the Boys Academy four days a week. Jimmy’s teacher Liseth makes sure he knows he’s loved. #notjustabuilding
Jimmy is one of the boys at the academy. He’s a shy 12-year-old in the 3rd grade. This kid. Super kind. Always pays attention. He loves learning. But he has terrible grades in school. ???
I sat down with Jimmy the other day, trying to figure out how he does so well at the academy but is doing so poorly in the public school. It took all of 30 seconds.
Jimmy’s mom, Gladis, works at a factory packing and cutting vegetables. Her husband left her for another woman 4 years ago. “He abandoned us” was the way Jimmy described it.
Jimmy is the oldest of four but only Jimmy and his little brother Franklin are living with their mom. A younger brother and younger sister are living with his “other” grandparents.
To say he and his brother are living with their mom doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes. They all sleep in a room at Gladis’ parents house but Gladis is rarely home.
She gets up at 5:30am to get ready for work and doesn’t get home until 8 at night. She works 13 hours a day cutting vegetables to be shipped to the States. She works seven days a week, thirteen hours a day, to earn $320 a month.
I asked Jimmy, “When you’re at the boys academy, how does your little brother get home?”
“He walks.” (Franklin is in the first grade and they live about a mile and a half away from school.)
He shook his head, “yes.”
“Can your grandma or grandpa pick him up?”
“They’re not home. They both work late.”
“Jimmy, who takes care of you and Franklin when you get home???”
He looked at me quizzically. “We’re alone.”
I asked, “WHO FEEDS YOU?!”
He shrugged his shoulders and lowered his head, almost like he was embarrassed. “No one.”
I told Jimmy to bring his little brother to the academy. “He can eat with us every day. He can do homework. He can read or he can color.”
Jimmy smiled. I gave him a hug and told him it was gonna be ok.
I think what I love most about this photo is when the boys sat down Franklin (left) put his arm around his big brother and then Jimmy put his arm around his little brother. There was such a genuine friendship.
There are Jimmys all around us. And here’s the thing, they won’t be carrying a sign. You have to put yourself out there. Talk to people. Get to know them. EVERYONE is fighting a battle.
Pray that G-d would put Jimmy in your path and that you would recognize him. Maybe you work with him. Maybe he’s your neighbor. Maybe he’s your brother. Maybe she’s a single mom. Maybe she’s a teacher. Don’t just walk by with your head in your phone.
And then love him.