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Introduction: I am …I am going to make it…I tell myself…I am going to be someone….I tell myself ..even if …












In my community there’s a lot nothing really to look forward to. There’s the busted up parks with the spray painted monkey bars broken swings and littered grass. There is a pizza place with tagged up walls broken front door and rude owners with bad customer service. I think they’re like that because they get robbed like every Friday night. there’s schools that have broken windows not and enough money to do any extracurricular activities. There’s plenty of gangs but none that you might want to get associated with. They’re bad news. There’s lots of apartments 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms but each one of them has a mom a dad and like six or seven kids. I aint lying but I cant talk I live with my mom who works nights at a hospital she’s a nurse. My dad who works where ever he can. Last I checked he was a mechanic. My three little sisters tyra who’s (three), Mariah (four), Desiree (six), and two brothers Michael (eight) and Gerald (sixteen). All in a 2 bedroom apartment . Not a lot room or space here but times are hard I guess. O yea and me Donald 14 .





























Its crazy living in this house with seven people living under one roof and it seems as if everyone is getting bigger everyday. Every morning I wake up around 6:30 or 6:45 it sounds exactly the same. “YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING AROUND THEM STREETS ALL NIGHT AND YOU GON CREEP UP IN HERE AND THINK I DIDN’T KNOW NEXT TIME DON’T COME BACK” my mom would screamed at Gerald. “ ight mom” he would say “IGHT MOM IGHT MOM BOY YOU AINT TO OLD TO GET HIT”. I would always laugh because I knew every word she would say before she says it. Then there’s my little sisters “MOM tyra peed in the bed” Desiree would scream tyra would cry and Michael would always tell Desiree “stop snitching” . Mariah would cry because her favorite cereal was gone. My dad he would sit there like nothing was happening. I would just get dress put on my running shoes. My favorite Nikes that my brother Gerald had past down to me when they had gotten to small for him. and leave. No one would notice till about 1 in the afternoon. I just go and run and I wouldn’t stop till my sides start to crap up and my feet got tired and I was thirsty. Sometimes I wouldn’t care because when I was running it was like no one could stop me. I was fast to I mean real fast no one in my class or in my family could ever catch me. One time I was even getting chased by this huge pit bull and I got away a clean get away that’s right I out ran a dog. Man was I fast.





After I was finished running one Saturday .I walked home I got there about 2:30. My sisters and the girls next door to us were outside playing jump rope. My brother and some of my friends playing catch with the only good baseball we could find. Although I wanted to play I ignored them and went upstairs. I had a felling that My father was upset and he was. He was yelling at Gerald and my mother was yelling at my father. I don’t know why there always fighting. I think its because Gerald isn’t the best kid he hangs around with a gang, Never really goes to school and when he does he gets into fights not much of a role model. When I walked into the apartment its like I wasn’t even there but I made my presences Known. I slammed the door really hard and my parents turned there heads look at me and started to yell at me instead. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? DON’T YOU LEAVE THIS HOUSE AGAIN WITH OUT LETTING US NOW WHERE YOUR GOING OR WHO YOU’RE WITH”. I would agree. I was always mentally tougher than Gerald so when they yelled at me I didn’t care. Unless they hit me. When they were finish I would go find Gerald and he would always give me 3 dollars so I can go to the ice cream parlor. Gerald would always have money as much as I hate to tell this but he sold drugs. I hated that he did that but he always kept us from being homeless.






One night when it was about one in the morning an Michael and I had fell asleep in the living room. Gerald was about to leave and he had woken me. I said “Gerald where you think You going you know momma said that you cant come back if you leave again” “hush up boy you know she bluffing she aint gonna kick out her son she’s just trying to say that to scare me” Gerald said I didn’t want him to leave because I knew what he was
going to do. I just didn’t stop him I let him leave and that whole night I stayed up worried about him. He was down in the ally with sly. sly was the neighborhoods biggest drug dealer. Well he kinda just gave the drugs to some guys that he trusted well he didn’t trust anyone. So I take that back but those guys that he choose would go out and sell it. That night I had a bad feeling so I put on my shoes grabbed a coat and I ran I ran down to the ally. When I had got there . I Over heard sly and Gerald talking I stop and peeked around the corner and I heard sly say “my moneys short” .“What no its not” said Gerald “what you calling me a liar” “naw man I wouldn’t” “yea don’t play with my money next time your going to lose your job” “i’m sorry man It wont happen again” It better not he handed him the money that he earned Gerald looked at it this is less than usual sly looked him and said “so” Gerald said “I sold as much as everyone else and I get shorted out of my money” “so” sly said again “that aint fair” “you now what aint fair” said


Sly had signaled the two big guys standing in the corner they came over. One of them socked jared right in the face the other in the stomach they did other things to but I couldn’t look because it was horrible. When the guys stop beating him and got into there car and drove away Gerald laid curled up against the wall. I ran over to help because he began to coughing up blood. he said “Donald what are you doing out here” “don’t worry about it come on I’ll help you get home”. When I finally got him up I was scared to walk home. I walked steady so that Gerald wouldn’t fill any more pain than he already did. When we got back to the apartment after the long scary walk I slid the door open so that I would awake Michael or my parents. I laid Gerald down on the couch in the living room pulled of his bloody shirt. Through it away and then turned off the television and laid down on my paled on the floor. Then I heard Gerald say “thanks” I then said “that’s what brothers are for” “I will always have your back” Gerald said and we went to sleep. I had dreamed about what would have happened to Gerald if I had not been there to help him get home maybe they would have came back around and I didn’t want to dream about that anymore but did. I wouldn’t call that a dream it was more like a nightmare I couldn’t even being to think about what it would be like waking up and Gerald not being there.




When I woke up that morning I woke up to the yelling of my mom but it wasn’t the same topic and she wasn’t yelling at Gerald but at my father. My father yelling at Gerald. My dad yelled “I thought you said he sneak out this house again he can’t come back” My mom then said “I did but i’m not bought to put my baby on the street” “I’m tired of this boy all he do is break the rules, stay out late, sneak out, skip school he stupid he aint never gon be nothing”. I could see the fury arise on Gerald’s face and then the quickest punch I ever seen thrown was threw right at my fathers face from Gerald’s hand. My father swung back and hit Gerald right in his nose my mother tried to pull them apart. They constantly threw punches and I soon ran over to to help. When they were finally done my father yelled “you gotta pick you gotta pick right now its either this ungrateful little boy or a man that works for what he has” “works” my mom yelled you haven’t helped pay any bills sense we moved into this apartment” “I have been working my butt off trying to provide for this family” “I had it” my father said “I’m leaving I had it with these ungrateful kids and i’m leaving i’m done” I then teared up I began to cry and shout “please dad don’t leave we’ll change we will please dad we need you we need you to stay please dad don’t go I need you don’t you need us dad don’t you ” he then push me off his arm which I had been holding on too and said “I love you Donald you know I do but I cant stay here with this family I cant stay here with all these broken promises lies and I have. ”he stop “you have what dad” “I have to go” he patted my head and left I sat on the floor next to the door and cried .My mom cried to. Gerald went to the bathroom to check his face but I think he was crying to because he never really cared about what he looked like after a fight. I wander how we would tell the girls and Michael who had still been asleep. I began to cry again and then I couldn’t bear the thought and I grabbed by shoes and walked out the house and ran. I didn’t know where I was running to I had a great mind of not coming back but I decided that my family might need me. I ran as I ran the tears fell on the ground from my face. My hands were shaking, my head was hurting I was in bad condition. I past up every place I had ever been and I stopped at the hill that led to the freeways. I had a right mind to run up there and just get hit. I decided to go back home. On my way back home a car pulled up. On the side of me really slow and they rolled down the window. It was sly . He said “a kid can you tell you brother that I’m looking for him because its past three” “so” I said accidentally sly laughed “umm just tell him he’ll understand” and I just nodded and kept on running. When I reached home my sisters and brother looked sad and scared I could see just from the expression on there faces that they knew. I didn’t say anything to them because I felt there pain. I just went to the back room and told Gerald what sly had said Gerald looked very upset and said “I don’t want to do that no more i’m done with that sly is not a good person. Donald promise me that you will never be in a gang do anything that I have done over the years. promise me that please.” I promised.





That day was very silent. My mother had fixed us dinner and ironed our clothes for school then she went to sleep. So did the girls after they one by one took there baths. Myself and Gerald and Michael just sat on the couch watching TV and then Gerald had said “i’m sorry i’m sorry that I”. I cut him off and said “hey its not your fought he was gonna leave anyways so don’t worry your self about it”. I lied because I didn’t think that my father would ever leave us but I didn’t want to put a blame on Gerald. You know D you are the only person in the world that can just forgive someone and don’t give them any hard time about it” said Gerald. “Well if I only learned one thing that is to forgive or you wont be forgiven”. Gerald smiled and headed for the shower. I had taken my shower then went off to bed. That night I had bad dreams about my father and what would happen to him after he left. I was scared I couldn’t wake up this time and the dream kept going and wouldn’t stop he was homeless, he starved to death ,he got lost and never came back I wasn’t really scary but It was a nightmare because I didn’t want it to happen to me or my father.










That morning when I had awoken we had all gotten dress for school. Gerald would always walk with us to school although he would never go in. He didn’t like school very much. He was has always said that he would go back if he had to but right now he doesn’t have to. I thought that was a false statement. That day when I had gotten in class the topic on the board said careers. My teacher Mrs. Pulver had asked us “what do you want to be when you grow up” ? Everyone in the class were pouring out answers doctors lawyers, the president, astronauts, congress men ,singers, rappers, actors, actresses, I sat in the back with nothing to say. I really didn’t know what I wanted to be. “Donald do you now what you want to be?” Mrs. Pulver asked . “ nope I said I don’t really care I will just be happy to make it to grown”. some of the girls in the class snickered but I really didn’t care because it was true .“isn’t they’re anyone in you family or any family that you would like to be like ?”. “Nope I want to be like myself there’s no fun in trying to be someone else” my teacher smiled and said “being your self is one of the best jobs”. I smiled back because the way Ms. Pulver talked made you warm and gave you the filling of caring, the girl that sat next to me kristal said “that’s cool how you like want to be like your self and all its cool I didn’t know what I wanted to be either but know I do I want to be like myself.” the end of the day came fast. Although I didn’t want to be there I didn’t want to go home.




That same week on a Wednesday when were waking to school the girls and Michael had ran of to find there friends. I was walking with Gerald. “hey g I said can I come with you this time?” “naw not this time maybe on Friday”. he said “okay next time you promise” “yea yea” said Gerald “hey g” “what” “have you ever liked somebody I mean like have you ever” he cut me off and said “like a girl yea but she didn’t like me back girls are tricky so who do you like ” he said “what I don’t like nobody Ight I said her name is kristal and I think she likes me but i’m not sure I like her” “well you got all your life to find out if you like her now hurry up before your late”. I went off to class. When I had gotten to class Kristal was already there she had saved me the seat right next to her “thanks I said sitting down” “no problem” she said smiling Ms. Pulver had told the class good morning and after that the intercom had come on. Our principal Mr. Perlett came on the intercom and said “Good morning beautiful Curtis students today is march 1 yes that right the 1st day of march” he told us all the latest news and then he asked us “please stand for the pledge of allegiance” we stood “I pledge of allegiance to the flag of the united states of America into republic of which it stands and one nation under god invisible of liberty and justice for all” the class had said in unison. Then we sat down and got back to what Ms. Pulver wanted us to do.






Back at home my mother was getting ready for work and there was a knock on the door. She ran to the door happy thinking maybe it was my father she opened it up and It was the police. They had came out to our house because Gerald had over 62 unexcused absents and that was like against some kind of law. They arrested my mother, put her in the car and drove her down to the police station. All of this while I was at school and Gerald was roaming the street. While Gerald was roaming around on the streets he saw sly he played it cool for a second in hopes that he wouldn’t notice him. he did. When Gerald noticed he saw him he took off running he wasn’t as fast as me. He ran. Sly and his men jumped into there car and chased after him. Gerald tried to run across the street as fast as he could but in an instant. Sly had ran him over. He kept going .Gerald was dead and myself and siblings were at school will my mother had been hauled of to jail. After school the principal had called me and my siblings into his office. He had told us the news about our mother and how the police were going to come take us to the station with our mother. he didn’t tell us about Gerald because he didn’t know. As we were riding in the back seat of the police car none of us said a word. No one asked any questions, we were all scared and confused as we were on our way there their was seem to be a accident. I stared out the window there were police cars, ambulance and fire trucks and then I saw the man on the stretcher. The young man on the stretcher was Gerald. As crazy as this may seem all I could think about was that Gerald had told me that I could go with him on Friday. Now I could never do that I turn my head from the scene. When we got to the police station they made us sit until our mother came out she explain to us that she was there because Gerald wasn’t going to school like he was suppose to. She said she was going away to jail for sometime and that she was going to see if her parents my grandparents could take us in until she was out of jail. It was a tragic time for my mother in jail and it broke heart because of the death of her oldest son. My self my sisters and younger brother were landed in foster homes because our grandparents simply said didn’t want us and we were all split up. I hadn’t seen my brothers and sister sense we were split up because I was adopted by a very wealthy family of a mother, a father, one girl Samantha and one boy Samuel and they took good care of me. They let me talk to my mother on the phone ,go to school. One day I had went with my foster family to one of Samuels track and field events. I never heard of track and field or seen track and field events. I was surprised that running was a sport that people actually took seriously. When I had seen all the kids line up at the red line stretching and getting ready and the guy in the middle yell get mark get set …Go and everyone took off running I wanted to do that. I wanted to run I knew I could win I just knew I was good at even if I never did it before. Then right then I just I decided to ask my adopted father James if I could run I said “please I would be really good at it I wont quit I will stick with it for a long time”. I once heard him tell that to Samuel “please” he then agreed that it was okay for me to join he just had to find a place were they were looking for runners. I was so happy, Samuel had came in 4th place but he did pretty good he wasn’t very fast at all. The other two guys that came after him weren’t very good either. After the track meet we went home ,Samantha was on the computer my adopted parents went to play golf and Samuel was paying video games so I went to talk to Samuel. “that was a pretty good race today” I said “naw it wasn’t said Samuel” pausing his game. “I came in 4th” that’s not that bad out of six” “yes it is bad” said Samuel. “do you know how slow you have to be to get 4th” I shook my head “as slow as me”. I just look intently at him not saying a word. I said after a moment “well your dad said that he’ll sigh me up to get in the race to” “really are you serious” “yea” I said. Samuel laughed un paused his game looked at me shook his head and kept on playing. I walked away from that conversation confused because I had no idea what was funny. On Monday I had went to school, school was pretty boring but there was one reason why I went and her name was Elisa. She was smart and pretty but one thing that stood in the way was. She had a boyfriend and his name was Tommy well that was his nickname his name was Thomas he was on the football team he played wide receiver he was good at it to. I didn’t care for him but he obviously didn’t like me. He would always pick on be laugh at me when I didn’t get the answer right call me ghetto. The worst was when we were talking about a story that we were about to read it was about two boys and this social worker he laughed everyone turn to see what he was laughing about “ha ha ha maybe it’s the same social worker who took Donald away”. “That’s what happened to you right” he said too me “they took you away because your daddy left you and your mom could take care of you” he was wrong that’s not what happened I looked him in the eye and said “your wrong my mother loved me and would never just give up on me” “looks like she already did” said Tommy I jumped up an went to punch him in the face Elisa jumped up in the way and yelled stop. I looked at her and walked out of the class room ms. Pulver yelled after me stop Donald don’t leave this class mister I left anyways. After school Elisa had came up to me and said “hey umm Donald i’m sorry for the rude comments that Tommy made earlier he doesn’t know anything obviously I said my mom didn’t give me up she would never that talk turn in to something longer and longer but we only got to be friends after a week or so we didn’t really talk any more. Weeks had went by and I still wasn’t on a team so I decided to go talk to my adopted father “ummm have you start looking for teams for me to be on” I said “ummm said my foster father no haven’t I haven’t yet found one but i’m going to keep looking okay” I was happy that he said he would keep looking . A month had went by and the track meets were over. I never got to be on a team my feelings were crushed at first but then I thought to my self well he tried he just couldn’t find one. My sister Samantha the only one in the house that I actually hung out with. Was sitting in the kitchen with me talking and having fun. I asked her “Samantha why do you think it was so hard for your dad to find me a team to run with ?” “well one” Samantha said “he’s your dad to second he didn’t look” “what I said what do you mean” “I mean said Samantha that he went to work came home went to sleep went back to work played golf and never looked” “I was crushed but not to make it any better I got a letter from the prison that my mother was in saying that my mother was killed earlier that week in some kind of gang related fight. I couldn’t believe it I didn’t want to believe it could be true. Why was this happening to me why why it all I kept saying it not true my mother wasn’t in a gang, what was this about its not true but I was true. That was it I had no more mommy, no more daddy, no brothers or sisters that was it. I felt my chest get heavy my knees got weak I couldn’t breath I couldn’t stop my tears from rolling down my face. That was it that was it that was all that I could say to myself then everything went dark. When I woke up I was laying in a hospital bed my foster family sitting in chairs in the room. Ms. bennet was on her phone, Mr. Bennet was also on the phone, Samuel playing his hand held game and Samantha well Samantha actually look as if she cared and that was the only thing that made me want to be alive. I said “hey Samantha” she smiled greatly “hey how’s it going” she said “okay” I replied “I was just worried about you” she said “i’m sorry about your mother I really am” I smiled lightly and said “thank you thank you very much” Ms. bennet said “that’s enough of that small talk Samantha its time to go we will be back to pick you up tomorrow darnel” I didn’t say anything but I had very mean thoughts in my head because she called me darnel Samantha had noticed but one else did. I was very upset I couldn’t hold back my tears. I was okay one second then highly up set the next I was angry and I didn’t want to go back with that family although I knew I had to.

That night I couldn’t go to sleep so I stayed up late the custodian had came in the room to clean up the mess that the guy next to me had made the custodian made his way past me. I didn’t say anything but I wanted to I knew the custodian. I didn’t say anything until I said dad he turn and looked at me and said Donald he rushed over to me and gave me a huge hug. I was excited I had found my father this was amazing I was so happy then he asked me. He said “boy what are you doing in here why are you so far away from home” I said “I don’t got no home daddy they took it way they took momma away they made everybody go different ways Gerald go killed” my daddy’s eye teared up “they took momma to jail and they killed her in there I don’t know where anybody else is at but some rich family adopted me and then” “and then what” he asked “that’s it daddy I just got adopted they don’t treat me the same as there other children but they treat me okay” “that’s good” said my father “that’s good I love you Donald and you better not ever forget that. My life has been very lonely with out you” “so you don’t have another family daddy” yea son I do have another family but I have one daughter and a fiancé i’m working here to try to save enough money for my wedding” you fell in love that fast an had daughter” “I was gonna tell you guys that I had a baby on the way she’s almost two how and I was gonna tell you I was” I smiled “are you gonna invite me daddy” “absolutely son you will be the first but I gotta go back to work now so if you need me I here everyday from 8pm to 1am okay” “okay” I said and that was it I had seen my father and he had walked away again. I went to sleep that night confused on whether or not I should happy or sad but when morning came my adopted family had came and picked me up Samantha was happy to see me and that’s all I can ever ask for is for someone to want to be with me not leave me. Years have went passed with my new family and my grades were pretty good my birthdays had went passed I was now 17 now. Track season had came back around this time I wasn’t going o depend on my adopted father to find me a team. I went and did it my self I found a great team Samantha helped me buy my track shoes and anything else I might have need. I was ready I practiced everyday I trained everyday I didn’t want to lose I really didn’t want to win I just wanted to run. Then the day came our first race we went to the starting line we got ready we got set and then we ran. I took off all I could feel is the wind on my face I never ever felt better in my life I didn’t realize how far ahead I was. I came to the finish line and looked back the other runners were just barely coming close to the finish line. I could hear Samantha yelling so loud I was happy I had won. After the race Samantha and I were walking to her car and a guy had came up to me and said “Donald raven” “yes sir” I said “you were phenomenal out there” “thank you sir” I said “my name is Daniel Sanchez and I want to offer you a deal a big time deal to come train to become a Olympic runner” I looked at Samantha she had the biggest smile on her face “I will pay you 100,000 I know its not a lot but that’s all I can give you until you get a deal if you get a deal come by my office on Monday” he said myself and Samantha very so happy we jumped up and down screamed with joy Samantha was so proud of me and I new my mom and brother looking down and very happy to. That Monday myself and Samantha were there. In less that 3 months I was training and had 100,000 in my bank account. I all I could think was I was the boy who lived in a terrible neighbor, small house, lots of kids to take care of, a father who ran away twice, a brother who died very young, a mother who also died very young, adopted parents who couldn’t careless, a adopted brother who laughed in my face, but a adopted sister who became a best friend and real sister a life long friend. I thought I owned her something more than I could give her so I wrote her a check for 20,000 dollars. I wasn’t there when she got it but i’m pretty sure she was very happy. I hired a team to find my brothers and sister for 10,000 dollars. I went by the hospital and dropped a check for 10,000 dollars for my father his wedding. Later that week I received my invite I was pretty happy and hopefully he was to. Then I rented a house I wasn’t to sure I wanted to buy one but then I took 20,000 dollars went back to my old community fix those swings fixed the money bars and repainted over all the negative I turn that neighbor hood into place were people would want to be. I found my brother and sisters the were living fairly but I check in on them occasionally. 5 years after when I was 22 years of age I had already ran in 2 Olympic events won them both ….
when I was 14 I was lost in a world that I was not familiar with. I had to wake up and tell my self to be stronger. This is not a dream this is real life. I was nothing now i’m something. I had nothing now I have millions of dollars and most importantly a family that loves me.




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