IFCA Youth Project Gallery

“I Am From” Lana


(Texas Tech University)

Abstract
My poem is a wrap up of my life. I choose to separate my poem into 4 different stanzas because there were four different times in my life. The first stanza is when I lived with my mom. I don’t have too many memories that I would like to share about this. The second one is when I went to live with my dad. This was when I saw the Mexican culture because I had to get up with my aunt early mornings to make my dad’s lunch and pack it for him. I have different cultural experiences because my mother is white and my father is Mexican. The third stanza is when I would go see my grandparents and the last one is when I got removed and placed in Child Protective Services. I have some experience living in a home that is not my own so this is also in the poem. My conclusion is one sentence long but I think is the most important part of the poem.

I am from…
I am from a woman addicted to drugs and booze who presented anger and fear
I am from a home full of animals
I am from staying up late nights with my sisters
I am from hamburger helper and corn

I am from a man who knew much hatred but showed a heart full of love instead
I am from waking up at 4:30 in the morning to pack a lunch for my dad
I am from homemade tamales on holidays
I am from dipped ice cream cones on Sundays

I am from grandma singing “Be careful little hands what you touch.”
I am from goin’ fishin’ with grandpa on Saturdays
I am from vanilla ice cream and vanilla wafer cookies before bed
I am from grandma kneeling by my bed saying our prayers

I am from a foster home that only offered loneliness
I am from strangers that showed true happiness
I am from a group home with many hurt girls
I am from a life time of sisters that understand

I am from broken families, blended together and a love that never fails.

My Name is Sang-Won


(English version written by the author)
My name is Sang-Won. I was born in Boston, 1991. My father seemed to be a Korean American doctor, and my mother was a Korean immigrant descendent in Japan, who chose to seek higher education in the United States.

I’ve never met my father, though, I still remember my stay in the U.S. with my mom, until 1998.

I lived in many places – Connecticut, Seattle, Hawaii, California ….

My most precious memory is my stay in San Francisco – I still suddenly remind it when I feel lonely.

After that, I was took to Japan by my mom, the country where she had been given birth.

However, my mom had become ill in 2003, so I was placed to local child welfare center, and then entered a public-funded foster care institution, which was located in Kodaira city, midland Tokyo.

At the institution, there were more than 60 children in many ages. 1 unit consists of 9 children, with 4 rooms, so 2 – 3 people per room!

Pocket money was supplied to each person, by the merciful institution. 2000 yens for junior high, and 5000 yens for senior high. Not bad, right? 🙂

All school expenses were paid by the institution, so it was lucky not having to worry about it.

There were so many kinds of kids, and sometimes they fought against each others. Some guys who were lucky to have their parents, were able to meet them in weekends, and even stay temporarily in their home. Everybody envied those guys.

For fairness, kids were not allowed to bring their belongings given by their parents, into the institution. Few people obeyed that rule, though :-s

In summers, we enjoyed vacations traveling around many places. We also had Christmas party, sports festival, farewell party, and so on.

I lived there until the graduation of high school (you have to get out the institution when you graduate the senior high school – or even at the age of 15 if you don’t choose to enter senior high. Only the junior high diploma is required in Japan, while most population seeks further secondary education.)
I had the desire to go to college, as everyone does, however, I had no money….

I abandoned my plan and rather went to independence support home, to get a job and prepare to be self-sufficient.

There was a strict rule, e.g. if you have no motivation to work, get out the Home ; while you’re unemployed, you cannot go out to have fun, rather concentrate on your job hunting! ; support your living cost all by yourself, and don’t forget to pay the room and boards, etc etc…..

I was in charge of patent searches, server computer maintenance, etc in an IT company. The job was so tough that I had to work until even it turns 12 A.M. and the date changes to the next day…. A friend of mine in the Home was more miserable than me, e.g. he comes home at 2 A.M., and soon after that, with lack of sleep, he goes back to work at 4 A.M. X-C I wondered why he’s still alive despite his hard work.

Actually we had to choose the job which let us go home by 10 P.M., the curfew. But almost every company in Japan demands heavy overtime work, so some home-mates had to break the rule.

When you turn 20 y.o., you have to get out of the Home, so now I live in Chiba prefecture (suburb Tokyo ) , alone.
Finally I chose to quit my job, and I’m currently enrolled in public job training course, with unemployment benefit paid.

I haven’t decided what to do next, though, I still dream how nice it would be if I could enter college.

It’ll be nice to recover the connection between me and my home land – America – through this activity.

Well, thanks for reading ;-p

How To Submit Your Work

Currently, our NPO is inviting foster youth and alumni to send their essays, poems, and art works. A stipend ($100) will be given if work is used in the website. Written work will be published in the website in both English and Japanese.Go to Gallery Page


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