Blake

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When I first met Blake, he wouldn’t look me in the eye. All I knew was he was nine and a foster child who had lived in more homes than I could count with my hands. His social worker warned me I’d be lucky to get more than five words out of him. So you could imagine my surprise at hearing him laugh, even it was only a result of my clumsiness. After the giggles and the cleanup, I noticed the permanent scowl on Blake’s face had softened to a slight smile. And I watched him open up. We talked about how we both liked drawing and playing basketball. I helped him color in a few pictures and decorate a Nike bag.
Our conversations weren’t of great importance, but that wasn’t the point. That day and for the rest of the year I became someone who was rare in his life— a friend.
When Blake was leaving, I was approached by his social worker. “I don’t know what you did,” she said, “but thank you.” I couldn’t believe I was deserving of such a heartfelt sentiment.
I wish I could say in those few hours I changed his life. But at the end of the day, I was the one leaving with something— a new perspective. I had been ignorant. The struggles foster children like Blake constantly face never crossed my mind, because I was so accustomed to my own cushiony lifestyle.
I hadn’t given him anything more than a few hours of my time. But for a child with a murky past and even cloudier future, that can be one of the greatest gifts.





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