Kids With Promise

I was at work today reading in bits and pieces your cover story about “families” in San Diego (“If There Are Families,” Cover Story, April 10). I believe this cover story is one of the best (at least, my favorite) so far. It was incredible. The research put into it was amazing. Michael Hemmingson created a wonderful piece. My heart is breaking, yet it is good to know the truth about the city’s many subcultures and to be very aware of our surroundings. Not to mention understanding the magnitude of serious dysfunction in our nation’s traditional families. This article has made me consider doing foster care in hopes of preventing what has happened to these children from happening to other innocent, promising children. Thank you for such a grand piece of work.

Name Withheld
by Request

It’s All True

My name is Kim Goodeve-Green, and I am the center director for an organization called StandUp for Kids. I have just finished reading your article (“If There Are Families,” Cover Story, April 10) and know that some of these kids are ours. At least, the story is the same as that of the 30 to 40 kids that we see each night. I am the director for our Oceanside chapter. I know that our San Diego chapter cruises O.B. on their outreach nights.

If you called me, I would return your call. We don’t print our address; we don’t put out fliers, but most of the kids know how to find us, and they bring other kids. We are only run at night, but from reading your article, we are a family. I guess I would be Mom.

I would like to ask that when you run into “our kids,” maybe spread the word that there is a place for them, at least for a few hours. To not have to survive, to not be judged, and to get some help. We are here. They can call us at 760-433-5437 (KIDS). This is our Oceanside chapter phone number. We are open on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Thank you for writing this article. It was honest and true. My kids are hard to love, but there is a reason — they have been through a lot. We all have, and we each deal with it differently. These kids in particular, though, have had to grow up way too fast and have to do terrible things to survive. Thank you for bringing awareness to the “invisible kids.”

It’s easy for us to be disgusted and angry at these “punk teenagers,” but a lot of times they have no other option than to panhandle and prostitute, use drugs and alcohol to blur their vision of what reality really is. Most of us have to ask ourselves, “How would I handle the situation?” Take away your network of family, friends, and even your coworkers. Your home, your car, your clothes, your credit card, your IDs. How would you survive? These kids are strong and resilient. They have to be. They want to live. The saddest part is that every day over 13 of these kids are dying on our streets, right here in our own back yard.

After reading your article, people can’t say they didn’t know that this was happening. It is, you have now read the story. Thank you again for sharing their story.

Kim Goodeve-Green
Director of Center Operations
Oceanside
StandUp for Kids

Keep On Keeping On

I am writing because I read the narrative John Brizzolara wrote about the cab driver who asked about his son and his health (“T.G.I.F.,” March 20). I have been reading Brizzolara’s funny tales for maybe 20 years. Has he been writing for the Reader that long? The first story I read was when he was living in Kensington and his girl broke up with him. He was listening to, I think, Frank Sinatra records and crying in his beer, unless that was one of the times when he was sober. I clipped the article and reread it when I needed a pickup. I actually used to have quite a scrapbook collection of his narratives that I would share with one of my sons when he visited.

I have a great idea. Why doesn’t he collect them all and put them in chapters such as “Re Relations,” “Re Addictions,” “Re Work,” “Re Music,” “Re Places Lived” (with a map like in The Long Embrace by Raymond Chandler). Anyway, you get the idea. If he has trouble publishing the book, I am sure that all his faithful followers would donate money to see it in print.

The other thing I would like to say is that I used to be addicted to coffee (the strong, regular kind). When I tried to stop, I had horrible headaches and symptoms like a heroin addiction, at least that is what the book Hidden Addictions said. It is written by a woman doctor from the Seattle area, and she gives good ideas about what to eat and drink when trying to break these gene-related, perplexing situations. Sadly, I have to say that after 15 years of caffeine sobriety, I am beginning to slip. I still grind the decaf, but I put a few sprinkles of the real stuff in so I can have that little jolt.

I hope Brizzolara’s body continues to heal and that he maintains a clear head, because there are those of us out here who read the Reader just because of his narratives.

Judi

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John Brizzolara April 27, 2008 @ 11:36 a.m.

Judi -- I am beginning to discover how to navigate these web pages. I don't know if you have but I thought I'd leave this message for you. Thank you so much for your kind words. A collection of TGIFs does seem a natural and it is something I do think about. Meanwhile I'm working on a different book and it is keeping me, mostly, out of trouble. It's good to know you're out there. -- John Brizzolara

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