Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hanging at the Youth Center

On Wednesday, I took Junior to the Cortland Youth Bureau's Youth Center to check out what goes on there because I figured it could be a place for Junior to Socialize with others. The Youth Center doesn't quite have structured activities but it is a safe place for kids just to hang out, watch tv, play pool/ping-pong/foosball, listen to music, play video games and they even offer either snacks or dinner for free.

There were about a dozen teens in there when we got there at 7 and although Junior didn't know any of them, one girl recognized him from school. It seems like it will be hard to break old habits because as soon as we got in there Junior wanted to play his video games and watch a movie. I tried to get him to play foosball with the other kids but he said he just wanted to hang with me and show me his movies. He really seemed to be enjoying it so I figured I would let him watch the movie for a short bit. Then I convinced him that we could watch TV or play video games anytime, but how often will we have foosball so we played each other for a while.

As we were talking, he told me that somebody called him the "r" word at school today and it hurt his feelings. I was so upset to hear that but I talked to him about how he has to ignore those people and their name calling. He said he let a teacher know and I said that was good and I told him when people call me names, I know they are the immature ones that are not worth my time because they are not my friends. I think this may be why he just wanted to play with me and not the other kids in the center. The next time we go I'd like to bring his friend, who is also his neighbor, with us because he seems like somebody Junior can hang out with during their free time. I'm trying to encourage Junior to get out of his house and play with his friend instead of staying inside all day.

On our drive home we were talking more and I found out he doesn't know how to ride a bike so maybe we can work on that as the weather gets nicer. I just need to find a bike to borrow. The best part of the night was juniors last few words to me. We were talking about our futures and I was telling Junior how I need to find a job soon. Junior told me that I should get a job in Cortland and live in Cortland so I can be closer to him. He told me that if anything went wrong or if I needed anything, he could be there for me. He said he has my back and that put the biggest smile on my face and I told him I have his back too!

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