What Tyrone Remembers

Written by Tyrone Smith, SDCC Alum 1991

  • Tyrone and his godson

    I remember Sue’s Center being located at a church, and my younger sister, Tina, and I walking the 13 blocks between our home and the Center. Subsequently, Sue generously started giving us a ride home.

  • I remember Sue giving me my first job emptying the garbage and reading to the younger children at the age of 12. This instilled in me a sense of pride in that I was earning my wages (and not selling drugs or stealing like many of my other neighborhood friends during that time).
  • I fondly remember reading to some of the younger children in the program (little Tristan stands out in my mind – I hope and pray he is doing well).
  • I remember Sarah [Sue’s daughter] taking me to the bank for the purpose of opening up my first savings account.
  • I remember Sue forming the first “Sue’s Center” basketball team for the “YVI” (Youth, Vision, Integrity basketball tournament held at Kenwood Academy) which I had the pleasure of participating in.
  • I especially remember playing pickup games with Owen, Terrence, Rolondo, Nazr (although he was almost a foot taller than all of us), and the many others at various times. Of course, those games were officiated by Tredarryl, affectionately known as “Squeeze.”
  • I remember having a safe and positive place to go once school ended (and being able to avoid the street gangs and other vices).
  • I remember the delicious raisin bread and cheese sandwiches we ate.
  • I remember the books that were available at Sue’s Center, and how they inspired in me a passion for reading. After consuming a majority of these books, Sue suggested other books (like Le Morte d’Arthur, a book that I subsequently consumed in 3 days!). This newly acquired veracity for reading made my studies in elementary and high school a much easier transition.

The principles that I learned during my time at the Center allowed me to avoid the typical negative pitfalls of high school. This allowed me to ultimately do well academically, thereby enabling me to attend college, and eventually graduate school. As a result, I’m currently an attorney working for the United States government in Pennsylvania.

From the bottom of my heart and soul, I’m grateful to finally have the opportunity to thank you and your family for the influence that you’ve had on my life. My life could have taken a much different turn for the worse but for the existence of Sue’s Center. Again, I want to thank you for all that you do, as well as the lives that you positively affect. I truly believe that there are angels walking on this earth, and you are certainly to be counted in this number.

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