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  • When I tell people what I do for a living

  • they often respond by saying things like,

  • "Bless your soul, that must be difficult,"

  • and my all time favorite,

  • "It's so nice to see someone not working for the money."

  • (Laughter)

  • I'm a social worker.

  • I attended the wounds of people crucified to circumstance.

  • Carry hope and band-aids in my briefcase,

  • share my own scars for street cred.

  • I work with kids who see their probation officers

  • more than their fathers.

  • They wear sagging pants and their parents' mistakes.

  • Introduce themselves as accidents waiting to happen;

  • they are a Hollyhood casting director's wet dream.

  • Tattooed with a temper, do-ragged D-boys, Boyz n the Hood, mi vida loca.

  • They speak in sign language

  • because they have been taught they are voiceless.

  • Marginalization is the chip on their shoulder.

  • It is so heavy they walk with a limp, pass it off as swag.

  • Their fingers, more familiar with pipes than pencils, eyes smoked closed,

  • paint their world view the color of devils as they search for God,

  • or anyone else they can just look up to.

  • Each one has a story.

  • Emilio wants to change, so he keeps a lucky penny in his pants pocket

  • along with the quarter I gave him to call with whenever he is in need.

  • In the desperation of his 15-year-old eyes

  • I see more potential than an idea Rivera never manifested on a canvas.

  • He makes the city his.

  • Scribes pieces of his soul into windows

  • not knowing his pain is as transparent as the glass.

  • Sprays a masked moniker underneath street lamps

  • so he always shines brighter than the darkness of his insecurities.

  • He left his self-esteem next to a cigarette butt

  • at the bottom of a bottle bought by relatives

  • who see no problem feeding fires.

  • He screams in spontaneous combustion,

  • but believes nobody is listening, so he commits another crime.

  • He likes going to court, because there,

  • at least he knows that someone is paying attention to his sentences.

  • I am his social worker attempting to make sense of his syntax.

  • He didn't fall through the cracks; they swallowed him.

  • I have seen it happen in broad daylight.

  • Sun turning the other cheek cowering behind the clouds.

  • Concrete quicksand traps youth like Venus fly.

  • Homies who claim to have backs, front, offering no help,

  • and so many of our kids are sinking.

  • Emilio asks me for direction,

  • but there is only one way to go from where he is.

  • I show him his heartbeat is his compass.

  • We look at the scars on his psyche,

  • I ask if he is ready to replace them with dirt underneath his fingernails;

  • he asks me how he is supposed to escape the sand.

  • I remind him he cannot ask for one to guide his footsteps

  • if he is not willing to move his feet first.

  • I speak in cliches; talk of butterflies and phoenixes, and of hip hop,

  • and of so many ugly things that have bloomed into beauty.

  • I speak in truths; I tell him I don't know if things will be OK.

  • I show him statistics are stalking him and prisons plan housewarming parties.

  • I tell him the streets, they don't change, but I know that people do.

  • Hope is not a helium balloon that's slipped from our fingertips;

  • we do not have to watch potential float away.

  • I am a social worker.

  • I work with kids who learn to spell stigma before their first names.

  • But each one is an artist learning to draw their own conclusions.

  • Their pencils are heavy burdens built without erasers on purpose,

  • because sometimes the best thing you can do is not go back.

  • I am a social worker, and no, I don't do it for the money.

  • I do it simply because I still believe in people,

  • and I really hope that you, and you, and you, and you, and you,

  • and all of you, still do too.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

When I tell people what I do for a living


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B1 中級

【TEDx】TEDxMileHigh--Bobby Lefebre--社工。 (【TEDx】TEDxMileHigh - Bobby Lefebre - Social Worker)

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    Smb Priscilla Tai 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日