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Social Work - Mr. B This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     These days a hero is portrayed as someone of immense fame, talented with the gifts of theater, music, or athleticism. But are these people really heroes? My hero is a school social worker, Mr. B. He lives and works in a small town where fame is pretty much nonexistent. His acting and musical talents are minimal and as for athletic ability, let’s just say that at 5'6" basketball is out of the question. Yet, Mr. B has done more for me than any famous actor, musician, or athlete ever could.

If a hero is really just an angel in disguise, I certainly never imagined that I’d meet my hero as an eighth-grader in the middle of the school hallway - on the floor. It was the end of the day and the hallway was pandemonium. Kids scrambled every which way while cliques huddled near lockers. I, meanwhile, struggled to lug a binder, three textbooks and a pencil case, desperate to get to my locker before my arms gave out. I did not make it and with a crash, my books and pencils scattered to the floor. In humiliation and haste, I quickly gathered everything, unsuccessfully trying to balance them again. A shadow formed as a figure bent down beside me.

“Whoa, slow down,” he said, reaching to retrieve an eraser I had overlooked. Then he piled the binder and books effortlessly and stood up. After finally collecting my pencils and pens, I grabbed my belongings from this kind stranger. Without even a thank you, I bolted away in embarrassment. Mr. B saved me that Friday afternoon but eventually his kindness would reach even farther. He would save my life.

As a middle-school student, I had to deal with everything from difficult parents to bullying. In sixth and seventh grade, my solution was to conceal my frustration and sadness, but by eighth grade, I had begun to close up to everyone. I felt lonely and miserable; I was convinced no one really cared. My parents didn’t notice, they were too busy with work and other responsibilities. I was their “golden child” who earned the highest grades and never got into even the slightest trouble. For my teachers, I did their homework, passed their tests, and was quiet in their classes. I was the model student, and as a result was overlooked. To my friends I was “just Selma,” sarcastic, funny Selma. No one knew the pain I felt, how the depression was tearing apart my sanity. No one, that is, except Mr. B. He had a habit of standing in the crowded hallway between periods to supervise the halls, but out of loneliness, I decided to talk to him.

After my little spill, I knew there was something special about Mr. B. Maybe it was the way his eyes sparkled when I told him a joke, or the way he’d listen to me as an equal, not a naive eighth-grader. So in a matter of months, a shy hello had transformed into an outlet for me to express myself. What made Mr. B different from other teachers was his awareness. The minute he realized how unhappy I was, Mr. B was determined to console me, to find out where the depression was coming from, and to help me. Mr. B showed me I wasn’t alone. He genuinely cared and was willing to do everything in his power to help.

Mr. B was a busy person but while juggling many students’ needs and other job expectations, he always managed to find time for me. Whether 15 minutes before first period, time in the middle of the day, or even after school as he was heading home, Mr. B always had time to listen to my complaints, laugh at a joke, or just comfort me. By talking to me, he saved me from my loneliness, but more importantly he saved me from myself and the dangerous road I was headed down. My life had been spiraling downward, and the endless taunts and putdowns had just about destroyed my confidence. I had concluded that I was a total loser but Mr. B never believed this. He helped me recognize my strengths and talents. I wasn’t a nobody. I was a smart girl who had to win a battle over low self-esteem. Now I can declare victory, with only Mr. B to thank. Even now, after leaving that school behind, I know Mr. B continues to believe in me and my dreams. That feeling is incredible.

A hero is an inspiration who changes your life for the better, someone who has gained wisdom from experience. Many of my peers haven’t found that person yet and continue to worship celebrities on MTV. At 14, I was lucky to have found someone to call my true hero - a compassionate, trustworthy, amazing social worker and friend, Mr. B.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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red headed said...
Dec. 8, 2008 at 6:31 pm
I love this story. It is an amazing, powerful story. I am glad that you found a hero.
 
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