This I Believe

Janea - Dorchester, Massachusetts
Entered on August 29, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My World

Sitting in the front passenger seat of daddy’s Volvo, I would always hear him tell me, “You can be whatever you want to be, but you won’t get anywhere hanging around Castlegate Road”. I was only in the sixth grade, and my mind wandered off during the conversation while I chomped on my french-fries from my happy meal, anxiously waiting to get to the toy that my dad had taken away as collateral if I didn’t eat all of my


Growing up I saw all of the older kids wearing shiny chains, the latest kicks or driving the latest cars hanging on Castlegate. I stood there amazed wanting to hang with them. They were the closest things to movie and rap stars. I wanted to look just like them and have people look up to me just as I had looked up to them.

Now I’m a senior in high school and the people on the Road of Castlegate are gone, from the horrible crime, the system of prison, or the epidemic of drugs. Being eighteen, I know close to ten teenagers my age killed, from hanging on Castlegate and other streets like it. It’s just something that happens to teenagers if they have nothing else to do when there’s no one to go to, no one to talk to.

From going to school in the city to the suburbs my father would always say, “You will have a great opportunity.” I never really understood it until the actual change came. From the textbooks to the desks, the kids in the suburbs had it good. After-school activities and teachers that actually cared about them; they had everything. Maybe dad was right, this was an option of better opportunities.

From the constant trips from Boston to Westwood I see my peers throwing their lives away. I have come to realize while growing up that I didn’t want to be like the kids on Castlegate because there is nothing on Castlegate expect trouble. It confuses me, Why me? Why not Susie or Joe? The kids of Westwood don’t know what it’s like, until they flip on television and get a fake view of what I go through. As they whine and complain about a stupid “B”, I have to pray, hoping that I don’t lose another friend or family member. I always wondered if the teacher is going to believe me when I would tell them I couldn’t complete my homework assignments because my lights were off. Or if I explained the reason for sleeping in class, because I work six hours after school to help pay the rent.

I believe that I was given was this opportunity to make a change, not only in my family, but for my community. Maybe I could even give some of the kids at my school a view of what goes on in my everyday life, so they can maybe appreciate the things that they have ‘cause I know I sure would!