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A Handwritten Letter to Mom

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Personal Voice, YO!/Changing The Odds Interns Posted: Sep 10, 2008

Editors Note: Even though they may not show it, teenagers do want their parents to be involved in their school life. The following letters were written by young people who participated in the YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia/Changing The Odds Program.

They were asked to write the letter they would write their parent, if their parent didnt know it was from them. (In effect, an anonymous letter to mom.) They were asked to write about the role their parents play (or played) in their school life.

Anonymous Letter to Mom

Click image to see a slideshow of the Anonymous Letters

Dear Grandma,

Throughout my life, you have been there for me. During the times in school when I got into trouble you would always come. When summer was over and it was back to school week, you would help me get the things I needed. But overall you never knew the real me at school. When I went to school I was a different person. I had many friends and even friends that I knew were not real friends. I got into fights, I talked to boys, I cut school, and did much more.

I think that what you could have done to help me was just ask me how school was when I got home, or what I learned, helped me with my homework, and not just expect me to know how to do it, spend more time getting to know my friends, my interests, what I want to do, and what Im all about. Also, listen to me. I want to be heard, and looked at like an individual, not a little kid. Understand that the teacher is not always right.

The things you do that make it tough on me at school is not letting me pick my own clothes, to buy and wear, also when you come to school dont be hella loud, or go into stories of me when I was young. When you come to the school dont point out an attractive boy and tell me I should go for it. When you come to the school please dress nice or have your hair fixed nice.

Valerie, 18, San Francisco


Dear Mom,

You never played a big role in my school life. The only thing you might have been good for was putting me on this earth so I could go to school. The only time you showed me you cared was when my grades were bad. I had to get bad grades to get your attention.

Mom, you could have at least showed you cared. Maybe made me a lunch every once in a while or bought food so I could make my own lunch. The only parent conference you came to was tenth grade Spanish class, and you cussed the teacher out. I feel you made her hate me more, but it was funny.

Mom, you made school life tough because you never showed up for anything. You made more promises than I can remember. You are a big reason why I cant trust people today, and when you try to do positive it always turns negative. Whats the reason?

Jockuela, 17, San Francisco


Dear Mom and Dad,

The role you guys played while I was in school was making sure I had a roof over my head and keeping food in my stomach. Even though you were sick, mom, you always made dinner and dad, there wasnt one day you didnt go to work to get money for our family.

Dad, when mom died and I was in middle school you did everything you could to help me in my school life. The only thing that could have helped more was that me, you, and my brothers should have talked more instead of all of us keeping everything to ourselves.

My family life not being in order made it tough for me to function in school so I started doing drugs and dropped out and moved away. But because you instilled values and morals into me at a young age I was still able to graduate on time, stop experimenting and get my mind back on track so I can better my future and status in the long run.

Dazy, 21, San Francisco


My mother didnt play a big part of my school life. When I was graduating out of the fifth grade she didnt show up at my ceremony. Everyones parents were there but mine. When I was going to middle school I was in foster care. Once again, she wasnt there for my eighth grade graduation. I felt like I was a failure because my parents werent around.

My mother could have shown up for at least 10 to 20 minutes into my graduation. Those were the big parts of my life. My dad has been locked up since I was a kid and my mother was home sleeping during both events. At least my parents could have written me a card to wish me luck.

Well my parents have split apart and my dad is still in prison and my mother is deceased. So its really hard for me to stay focused, but its not about them, its about me. Im still standing tall, head up, having pride in what I believe in. I will never give up as long as I live. Its my turn to shine and thats a promise.

-Misses Williams, 16, San Francisco


Dear Mom,

I appreciate the rides to school and the effort you put into me. You should know, however, that I plummeted from the cliff and dive-bombed into uncertainty when those car doors opened. The rare occasion when you asked how school went was reciprocated with an answer to match your enthusiasm. I now know that you cared, but even now I cannot understand the seeming apathy on your behalf.

A simple question upon your arrival would have let me know that my education mattered. Interest in my classes would have sufficed. Everything is so obvious upon reflection. With a preventative eye, or even a watchful one, things could have been different.

Support has never been the issue. You stuck with me in every decision. You supported me through everything, no matter what I did. The enigmatic problem herein resides, for you were never strict with me, and I wish you had intervened when I stopped going to school.

Walter, 21, San Francisco

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