Prof: Pauline Garcia-Reid
Billy Joe is a 17-years old who lives in the city of Camden New Jersey. It is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Camden’s murder, rate is more than 10 times the national average.
Drugs dealer’s activities, are so out of control the selling of crack, and marijuana are make up an estimated up to $43 million. Bill is surrounded by a very negative environment which ha major impact on his behavior.
Billy Joe, a teenager who wants to be the first one in his family to graduate from high school. He lives with his father, a younger sibling, and two younger cousins. He lives in a very small apartment with no electricity, no heat system, what little they have has been donated to them. In addition his father is unable to work because he has health issues so therefore Billy feels the obligation to help his father out.
In Billy Joe’s faces a lot of deprivation in his life. For him there is no time to be a normal teenager. He works at a fast food restaurant five days a week, to help his father. When he comes home late at night his homework is waiting for him, and thinking the next morning he has to wake up early to go school. He sleeps on the floor where his apartment does not have a heating system, and not only that but it is infect with cockroaches crawling every where. Clearly Billy’s family cant afford to have proper nutrition.
His family is under the food stamp program they received only $600 per month. Billy’s family suffers for lack of proper nutrition . More over Billy’s family struggle every day, with lack of money, lack of food, lack of primary needs at home. At the end of every month his family has to become created and be aware on how to survive until they will receive food stamps for the current month again. On Billy interview we saw just the way his family has to be creative in order to survive for sample: the coffee shop half and half container mixed with water so his younger sibling could have milk for the day. Billy’s family has to monitor his source of food in order for to last longer. His family eat only what they can afford such as can food it the most there is not luxuries in Billy’ life of any kind. It is obvious the Bill is not getting the right nutrition for being a normal growing teenager.
In addition beside Billy’s situation he still have dreams and expectation towards life just like any teenage.
His commitments toward his family haven’t taken the possibility to be successful in life. To have goals an reach those goals. One of his priorities is to graduate from high school in fact be one of the first in his family. According to his teacher she said he is smart, with a lot of talent but he has more to worry about than just school. He struggles with English subject which is critical for him to graduate. On the other hand being as normal teenager he resist the temptations not to be involve in drugs or gangs activities.
Just like Billy Joe there are others young citizen in United Stated who has dreams. Some of them reached those dreams not matter what. Others unfortunately they will never see their dreams come through. The hardship for the most of those kids who lived in poverty it seems there is not hope for them. A lot of those young citizens has have life experience in the early age; than a lot of us could never able to experience in our life time.
Just to mentioned the factor of the negative environment on which those families live and what are surround for. Those families live day by day with fear. From my point of view and according to the interview there are five factors leading the family issue: corruption is a big issue to the family, and is an matter to the community as a whole.
Poverty plays a big role also creates all types of problem and stress to the family. Lack of money an inappropriate nutrition. lack of money forcing the older son get a job living his school responsibilities in second place. More over in poverty population seems there it’s always exist lack of education.
He wants to make a different; he wants to be successful in life. The school system plays a big part to the communities like Camden. Teenager involves more in school, the school gives them the opportunity to engage with peers and be involved in school activities. Teenagers like Billy Joe that has set goals. Teenagers like him who they do feel there are still hopes; but they had to be mentally strong and focus on one objective/ goal which are “BE SUCCESFUL IN LIFE”.For those young kids who remain in school there are hopes for them. Billy Joe is not a accept ion he works hard.
There are a lot depressing factors in those young children life. The environment, there a lot families issue the those kids has to go through, not getting the right nutrition, dealing with crime every day all this before they can think on school responsibilities.
Billy Joe a teenager determined to graduate high school no matter what. His determinations make me think there is still hope for those people who leave in poverty. You need to have a strong personality and need to know what you want from life and what do you expect from life. You have to work hard not matter where you come from of what is you status. Dedication, commitments, to be a persevere person. In addition the most import set goals; are all part of become successful person.
Never stop improve your self in life; if you did not have the opportunity an specific moment in your life to get education. It’s OK but look forward for that opportunity just like I did. It’s never late is always chance for every body in these country and never look back. As many immigrant people come to these country and fall into a poverty for many reasons. Other successful got through and they have what is call the “American Dream” No one said is was an easy task for them to got the perfect job, the dream house, their children in a best school system. Probably took a lot of effort and a hard work, years of struggling and long years of schooling.
Finally I wish the best to Billy Joe and his family; I admire him because just the fact the he does not want to be a failure in life; no matter under what circumstance he will be.