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Sadly, we knew it was just a matter of time before it happened to one of our kids.
It was a Sunday morning when we received a text from JaShawn that said, “I won’t be able to make it to work for a little while. I’m really sorry.”
These texts aren’t uncommon. Even our most committed tutors face life circumstances – credit recovery, childcare needs, a sick relative – that pull them away from tutoring for a while. But, they’re often not proactive in communicating like JaShawn was. Pleased with his maturity, we offered him encouragement and asked if there was any way we could help.
His response: “I got shot in the leg last night. I’m at my aunt’s house. I could really use something to eat. And especially a drink. I’m really thirsty.”
Before hanging up the phone, we got all the info you could imagine we wanted. Are you safe now? What happened? What’s the prognosis? We were, of course, concerned about his immediate health as well as the reasonable anger he was likely feeling. Oh, and what did he want to eat? That might have been the most important question.
As we drove over with a meal, we were struggling with this new reality. No one deserves to get shot, but JaShawn was particularly surprising. When we arrived, Mr. Vincent (his program instructor) was already there. Given the relationships Mr. Vincent builds with his tutors, that was the least surprising thing that had happened all morning.
When JaShawn got shot, he wanted to be surrounded by people he trusted and he wanted something to eat. He called Reach.
JaShawn is back at school now. He’s trying to balance his work at Reach with a new job at Harris Teeter. He would also want us to be sure to tell you that he considers himself the face of Reach (when you go to our homepage, his is the first face that you see). His physical recovery is close to complete, but the mental and emotional recovery will take longer.
He’ll need a positive support system and a community that will allow him to feel safe, to the extent possible.
Good thing Reach is #AlwaysThere.