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A Special Christmas Program Empowers Inner-City Children to See a New Future for Themselves

LatinaLista — It is now 15 minutes into my new friend Jay’s vigil at the T. Don Hutto Residential facility in honor of all the families detained behind the barbed wire.

One would think, being Christmas and all, that whatever celebration they should be allowing the families to have (and in my best Miracle on 34th Street imitation of Natalie Wood: I believe, it’s foolish but I believe) that they would allow some kind of news out – if they were letting the children celebrate Christmas, that is.

In our opinion, there is no justification for withholding this very special day from children. As there is no justification in detaining children within a barbed wire enclosure.

Of all people, children are the ones who need to see that life really does hold more hope, options and a path to a better future.

The only way children are going to see this is by leaving their environment and seeing for themselves.

In honor of the children of the T. Don Hutto facility, I would like to share a story about another group of children who are being given the opportunity to leave their inner-city environment and are given the kind of “hope, options and a path to a better future” that we wish for the children of the Hutto facility.

A story in today’s Los Angeles Times recounts the story of a school bus driver named Tanya Walters, a Los Angeles Unified School District bus driver.

Tomorrow, Tanya will load up a bus full of 20 teenagers, who have never been out of the city of Los Angeles, and take them on an 8-day cross-country tour of the United States.

Los Angeles School Bus Driver Tanya Walters
(Source: LA Times)

The students are set to visit Hurricane Katrina victims and colleges in Louisiana, Texas and Arizona.

Some of Tanya’s fellow bus drivers have chipped in to help her but as of presstime for the article, Tanya still needed quite a chunk of change.

Yet, as someone who believes in what she is doing and the benefits she is providing to children who otherwise feel powerless to change their destiny, Tanya vowed to max her own credit cards to fulfill her promise to these kids whom she handpicked and made them work to be a part of this special Holiday field trip of the nonprofit she has created.

Walters founded the GodParents Youth Organization, a nonprofit traveling mentoring program for 8- to 18-year-olds that takes children to colleges, museums and historical sites. With no public relations background and no website, Walters relies on word of mouth to raise funds. In August, she took nine kids across the country in her van for a week. This month, she planned to take a bigger group — if she could pay for it.

Not all children in this country yet are able to receive the message that they can change their destiny. Until that time comes, we ought to at least help those who are on their way to following their own Star.

If you would like to help Tanya Walters in any way with herorganizationn and/or its goals, please contact Latina Lista and I will send you her contact information.

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