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And Wake Me With the Morning Light

      She was a young woman who was tired of living on the streets.
     They were a class full of preschoolers whose lives had been disrupted by abuse, abandonment and neglect.
      She hoped she could change their lives.
      Instead, they touched hers.

     From the back cover of And Wake Me With the Morning Light...
     Nicky, a 21-year-old young woman, never expected that she would amount to much. Told at one time that because of her mild mental disability she would never be able to live on her own, drive a car, hold a job, or go to college, she has become used to a world where poverty, homelessness, drugs and violence  are the norm. But when she hears of AmeriCorps, the domestic version of PeaceCorps, she decides to take one last stab at straightening out her life.
       Through AmeriCorps, Nicky is assigned to be a full-time volunteer in a child care center for preschoolers with behavioral and emotional disorders. In And Wake Me With the Morning Light, she recounts the stories of the children she meets there... of spending hours fending off violent attacks by raging four-year-olds who've been abused and abandoned by their parents, of sexually abused children who must be watched carefully so that they don't pass the abuse on to younger children, or heartbroken children who bounce around in the foster care system, and of children who come to the center starving and covered with bruises.
      Recounting each of their stories, this young woman shares the frustrations... and sometimes joys... of caring for children who are in need of so much more than she could ever give them.


Copyright 2003 Nicky Mann
All rights reserved.


Excerpt from And Wake Me With the Morning Light:..."Toby was a sweet little boy who loved to be hugged, carried, and rocked to sleep at nap time by his teachers...
     "But he also had an angry streak. I don't remember him ever being very violent with any of the kids at TLC. He was more likely to lash out at adults, if he didn't get his way about something, or if something went wrong, or if he was in a bad mood. Everyone at TLC had memories of chasing an angry, adrenaline-high Toby down the halls, and attempting to keep him from running right out the front door, into the shopping center parking lot...
     "I remember having to restrain him one morning, to keep him from running away. I'd already spent most of the morning chasing the frustrated boy around TLC. Having learned from experience that Toby was a head butter, I restrained him facing me, sitting on the floor with his back against a wall, his feet between my knees and his hands in mine.
     "I sat there with Toby, trying to catch my breath and wondering what to do next...
     "That day, as I held Toby down, he spat in my face and screamed, 'I hate you! I hate you!'
      "Each time he said it, I replied calmly, 'But I love you!' It was a tactic Joey used to use when I was angry with him.
       "'No you don't!' Toby finally protested. 'You hate me! I'm bad!'
      "'You're good!' I said. 'All little boys are good. You're a good boy, Toby.'
       "'I'm bad.' He actually curled his lips into a snarl, and growled like a rabid animal.
       "'Toby,' I said wearily. 'Right now your behavior is making me sad. I don't like it when you run from me, or try to hurt me, or spit at me, or say mean things to me. But I love you...'
     "My words barely made a dent in Toby's rage. We went for several more rounds of chasing and restraining, before he finally fell asleep, exhausted, in my arms."


Can you be a supportive penpal to a child or teenager in juvenile detention? To find out about Someone In My Corner, an organization the author helped found, click here!

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This ForeverTears - For All Abused and Neglected Children Of the World site
owned by Angel

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