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Higher Power
by Samantha Taylor

You think you can define me
Like I'm a tick in a small box

Like my being is a locked door
That a single key unlocks

But let me explain something to you

I have the universe all around me

I am a untamed ocean
with constantly changing tides

I am home to endless mountains
With peaks that touch the sky

I house the wildest rivers

I feel, in the waves of sunshine
Or in the most unrelenting rains

Don't tell me that you don't know me
I am bigger than you can imagine

That "this right here is what you are"

I am the universe in motion

I am the stars in the darkest night

I am the rays in the brightest sky

I am the air all around you

I am the grass between your toes

I am everything!

What Truly Matters
by Eva Sanchez
Bought, sold, battered, abused
This is the life of a teenage prostitute
Mentally, physically and socially shattered
Survival is the only thing that truly matters

At nightfall the real work begins
The kind of work that some may consider the unforgivable sin
The money is good, the sex could be better
Hey, a job is a job, and to me, that's all that matters

Love and compassion are separate from this
Sex doesn't always equal, eternal bliss
Again, for some this may be hard to swallow
I'm always in search of a brighter tomorrow

So forgive me father for the sin of my youth
For the choices I make however uncouth
Are the choices of today not of tomorrow
I refuse to wallow in constant sorrow

For a life of decency, and respect I yearn
If I leave,will society ever learn?
To leave this life in the past
In the warm sunshine, I wish to bask

I wish the public would eventually see
That teenage prostitution isn't all that it's cracked up to be
I would much rather choose to be me
A contributing member of society

Note from the author:
I've chosen to write the enclosed poem so that teenage prostitutes are given a voice and to help me always remember that there are reasons for every choice that one makes. Whether or not I agree doesn't matter. Sometimes circumstances are beyond our control that certainly do not give me the right to call someone a hoe. Before I use that term again, I pledge to think before I speak. I have no right to judge or to hold a grudge on a lifestyle I don't understand. Thanks to all who educated me and helped me to see the beauty of humanity.

God and the Butterfly
(author unknown)
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling round with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

Dope Fiend
by Mesha Frisch
Why did God decide to save a dope fiend like me?
It is incomprehensible, nor can my eyes see
Why God spared a dope fiend like me
I know he has a plan for my life, but what could it be
That God decided to save a dope fiend like me

I've searched for love, and it seemed none would come
I thought I found it in the pipe or an empty bottle of rum
I looked all over I've seen and heard the works of one
But I'll do it my way; I'll do what I've always done

I'm tired of fighting, I can't fight anymore
Some say submit and surrender, that will even the score
Me, submit and surrecnder, that I just can't see
But why did God save a dope fiend like me

My addiction is crazy, and as powerful as can be
I'm told there is one who can remove this obsession from me
I'll do anything to never get high anymore
I've repeated the same cycle, bumped my head til it was sore

I've hit my last result, I've fallen on my knees
I can't take it anymore dear God, please
God has a plan, that's his promise and decree
That's why God saved a dope fiend like me

Serious Wake-up Call for Battered Women
by Mesha Frisch
I got flowers today. It wasn't my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night,
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry and didn't mean the things he said,
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. It wasn't our anniversary or any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn't believe it was real.
I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
I know he must be sorry,
because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today, and it wasn't Mother's Day or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again.
And it was much worse than all the other times.
If I leave him, what will I do?
How will I take care of my kids? What about money?
I'm afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry, because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night, he finally killed me.
He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered
Enough courage and strength to leave him,
I would not have gotten flowers today.

Gem of the Day: The real test of class is how you treat people who cannot possibly do you any good.

Hearing El's Story
Amanda Sanchez
Social Diversity
Reflection Paper on Prostitute Speaker

I really appreciate that I had the opportunity to listen to some one who knew how to "Keep it Real," as she stated. She not only kept it real with herself but with complete strangers, too. The HO, as she referred to herself made me realize that we need to believe ourselves. It should not matter what others think or say about you, it's what you think of yourself that counts. Listening to someone who had such a rough life but still accomplished to be somebody made me realize, that we can do or be anything we want to. This wonderful person made me open my eyes and see a lot of things in a whole new perspective. When they make heroes out to be people like Superman, they should really teach people that they are their own hero. We as a people can change things in our own lives and others. We can do this many ways some with their listening, verbal skills, others with their physical skills. Listening to her lecture made me almost start crying but I realized that wasn't what she wanted she did not want your sympathy, but empathy, she didn't want a pity party, what she wanted us to learn from her and her experiences. Because of that I give her my full respect! I wold like to thank her for this wonderful knowledge that she instilled upon me.

(name withheld)
Social Diversity
Reflection paper

Hearing L's story touched my heart. To heara story such as hers made me understand just how real of a person L is. I can see that she has great courage to be able to tell her story all over the world to complete strangers. By her telling such an ugly story to strangers shows that she does care and she is making a difference in our world.

I'm really touched because I can some way relate to her story. At the age of fifteen my parents went through an ugly divorce. I continnued to live with my father (my best friend) well things got rough from the divorce to the point we almostlost our home and everything else we owned. My father being the man he was would do almost anything to take care of his daughters. This eventually led him to being a drug dealer and later on I became his helper. We sold drugs for years then it came to an end when my father passed away and I was served with six secret indictments. From that I was sent to prison for one year. While in prison I had a lot of time to think and I came to realize that I did not want to be part of that life. Being in prison is helped me also realize that I want to be able to help others out there in the drug world. Though some days I loose courage and hope in trusting myself to be able to help others. I sometimes feel that I've ruined any hope for my future. But when I heard L's story and when I see what a difference she is making out there in our streets, it gives me the courage to carry on with my goals. One day I will be able to help others and make a difference in our world.

Belinda Chavez
Professor: Brad Smith
Social Diversity
Reflection paper

Elesondra DeRamano was well spoken. I liked how she was very direct in letting us know what she had gone through in her life. She made me feel her pain, her disappointments, and her strength while going through all she went through. She also made me feel her will to get out of the situation she was in. The strength it took her to realize her false and the will to improve her life and the lives of her children.

Elesondra gave me the insight that one of my relative might be going through. I always thought a prostitute was a woman who enjoyed being laid by different men. I see I was totally wrong. There must have been something else going on with my relative for her to decide to have the profession she has now. I haven't seen my relative around lately. The last I heard she was in prison, that was a few months ago. I hope I could run into her again so I could give the card Elesondra gave to me. I really think Elesondra's organization could help my relative.

Elesondra made me realize to really help someone I need to be open minded and not close minded about the situation my client is in. I need to investigate and do my research on situations people are in before I make any opinion on a person. To be a good Social Worker I need to put aside any myths and personal feelings aside to help a client.