How do I even begin to tell you about the incredible turnaround my neighborhood has taken? I will start here. Hi, my name is Mychal McMahon. I am a single mom living with my mom in an apartment complex in 4s Ranch near the Rancho Bernardo area. We were the very first people to move into these low-income apartments about five years ago. We live in a rich community and many of the residents here are the poorer part of 4s Ranch. I noticed, as families started moving in, that there were many single moms like me. I also noticed that many of the kids didn't have a lot to do after school, considering their moms were still at work. It seemed a lot of them were just hungry for attention and something to do to keep them busy. They were starting to cause problems and get into trouble. I would even hear them yelling at each other outside. They are only about nine-and ten-year-old boys, mind you. They were kicking each other's bikes and cussing, and just getting more violent as the days went on. It was really getting annoying too. At first I got upset and asked them if they would be quiet. That, however, didn't solve the problem. Finally, I came up with an idea, I started to play with them myself. We started playing soccer on this little field we have in front of the complex. All the kids in the complex began to gravitate to the game. This really created a lot of unity between the kids. It became a tradition for a while on the weekends. One day, as the kids were swamped by my apartment with nothing to do, they realized my car door was open (a 1999 White "Daewoo Leganza"). So of course they thought this was the best thing in the world. As soon as one hopped in, the other six followed. Before I had any control over the situation, my whole car was bouncing with popcorn. This gave me another idea. My car was long overdue for a wash, so I put the kids to work. I asked them what they would really like for a present. They said hats from the new skate shop that just opened by our house. So I said okay. What was I getting myself into? Well, I had never seen a cleaner car in San Diego. Even the wheels were done to near perfection. These kids wanted these hats so bad. And they had so much fun doing it. I even got pictures. Again, I started to see more unity. After we were done, we had a little awards ceremony, and everyone got a ticket for a hat. I told them that we would go on the first of June, when I got paid, but listen how the Lord works in the coolest ways. Within the next couple of days I received a check from my school. I was so excited. The kids happened to be playing outside. I screamed and said,"Oh my gosh, you guys, we're going today." So we all walked in a group, and when we got there it was like kids being in a candy store for the first time. We were in there for probably an hour just looking for hats. They finally found the hats they wanted.
They were so appreciative to get some tree posters and stickers, bless their hearts. What's cute is that they all ride their BMX bikes around the neighborhood wearing their crazy hats. And if one's not wearing a hat they all don't wear them. Hopefully, I didn't start a gang. But now, instead of yelling and screaming, there's a new little feeling of hope spreading through our neighborhood.