Sunday, April 1, 2007

The zone...

Note: The opportunity to work in this place has given me inspiration, and in some ways, direction. I believe I have found what I want to do with myself now, and I thank everyone at the Zone ( both the kids and the dedicated people who work there full time, often thanklessly) for the lessons I've learned, and the bonds that were made.
I recently started "working" in the Zone. For those of you unfamiliar with the Zone, it's a youth center in town in Jerusalem, off of Kikar Tzion. The kids who come there basically range from 15 to 19 years old, and although most of them are completely israeli, most of them speak english. It's only open on thursday nights and motzei shabbos, but this works quite well with my schedule, especially as we're going into that time of year when the motzei shabbosim are quite long, and there's many other things that aren't so good that I could be doing.
Truth be told, I'm nervous.
First of all, I realize that I'm still a kid myself, trying to find the answers to my own questions as well. Secondly, you gotta be really careful with these kids. Most of them have that tough front, but they're really sensitive, and the wrong word can really alienate them. So after discussing it with people who I trust, I've decided that I'm gonna play it cool with these guys, and jusr try to build a friendship with them. Chill with them, and just be a friend they can talk to.
Someone asked me, in an effort to make sure I was doing this for the right reasons, why I went there. I had to think about it. I'm not going there because I want it to look good on my resume, so to speak; but when I go, I need to reenforce within myself why I'm doing it. The basic answer is I care. But of course, everybody cares, to some extent, right? I realized that, although I can't fully relate to these kids, besides for the obviously cultural differences, I still can relate enough as someone who's been beaten down and left out. The weird guy in the back of the room. The out of town hick with the weird clothes and weirder music and interests. I know what it's like to feel like crap, and be told by others that I was crap. So yeah, I care. Besides for the fact that these kids are really good kids inside, and that they have beautiful, shining essences, I want them to know that someone out there really cares for them, unconditionally. I don't want them to go through the pain I had to sometimes, the pain that cuts deeper than a knife and stings worse than alcohol on an open wound, which is what a lot of them feel every waking moment of their lives right now. No one deserves that, and I want them to know that.
Wish me luck.
Originally posted Friday, 11 November 2005

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