Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Build Up and The Break Down

You know those times when you catch yourself completely off guard? When you are just so comfortable with the place or position you are in that when something completely unexpected happens it completely rocks you? That was my Monday night. This year I am responsible for completing 480 hours of an internship and mine is anything but simple, and I love it. I just started back at the third portion of this, which is an After School Matters Program that I help facilitate on Mondays and Thursdays. I work with both elementary and high school kids on both a clinical bases and in the group setting. I love going to this group. I love these kids.

At around 5:30pm when we were dismissed from program my supervisor and I walked outside and the first thing we hear are gun shots. Many of the kids had already been dismissed but of the ones still standing outside we grabbed them and had them stand inside. The horror of it all was that the school made them leave not even 5 minutes later because they were "closed". Imagine what kind of impact that has on a social worker like me! The shooter was a block away from the school and the shots had stopped, which I guess meant he fled. Instantly my thoughts raced to our kids, "Where were they?" "Are they ok?!" My supervisor whipped out her phone and started calling as many of them as she could. Two of the kids had come into eye sight and I walked over to them to make sure they weren't hurt. Shooken up, but not physically injured, we had three students in all come back, one in which was standing right on the bus stop when the shooter came by. My heart aches for these kids, not just because they had to experience this (the second time this year I might also add!!) but also because even the little ones have become desensitized to it. Can you even imagine what it is like to grow up in a community where gun shots are normal? One of my elementary students, after the gun fire had been shot, walked out of the school put his hands in a way that resembled guns and said, "Oh yea gun shots, boom, boom, boom". This image will probably stick with me for some time because of how haunting it is to me.

In all, I ended up taking the three kids home, even though I know I could have gotten into really big trouble for that but I dare anyone to challenge me on that one! After everyone got out of the car I had to ask myself, "Am I ok?" I was. A little scared. The reality had set in that had I not driven that day I could very well have been on that bus stop by the shooter. I count my blessings that I wasn't. But more so I am grateful that all of my kids made it home safe.

By the time I finally got back to hyde park I had to stop at the gym to pick up my workout stuff that Pete had left for me. I was supposed to meet him around 6pm but plans got altered. I walked in and picked up my bag from the small gym and headed over to the bigger one. I had gotten out of the car with the feeling that this isn't where I wanted to be, yet I pushed myself in through the doors and up the stairs to sign up for a machine. As I got to the bottom of the stairs, in route to the locker room I broke. I didn't even have the composure to put myself on a tread mill to run. I left right away and went home to Pete who met me with open arms as I debriefed what I had just gone through. I have to say that this was one of the more experiential days in my internship, also one that leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. But at the same time it won't stop me from continuing on with the program because it's what I love.

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