Growing Up So Fast

Growing Up So Fast is a poem written by SDCC tutor and alum Latoya Lewis, 24. Latoya was a student at Sue’s from 1999 to 2003 and now tutors at the Center while working to get her Associate’s degree in Applied Science at Kennedy-King College in Chicago. “Sue always told me if you like to write, then write. If you like to read, then read, because people can take a lot of things from you, but they can’t take away your education,” Latoya said.

Latoya Lewis, SDCC Alum 2003

Growing Up So Fast

She is growing up so fast
I know she will be great
She is growing up so fast
Good fortune will be her fate

She was the smartest kid in kindergarten
And she did quite well in first
She had her ups and downs in second
But in third grade things got worse

Her neighborhood was very bad
People always got hurt nearby
The children were often mean to her
And many nights she would sit and cry

She never told her mom
Because her mom was never there
Her dad didn’t exist
It seemed that no one cared

Her grades fell tremendously
And her outlook on life got worse
Her existence didn’t seem to matter
Her life was simply cursed

She made it to her eighth grade year
And it was just by grace
She carried a chip on her shoulder
And wore a frown upon her face

She befriended a group of teens
That consisted of prostitutes and thugs
And before she realized what happened
She was introduced to drugs

She didn’t have a role model
The streets were her first love
Life started to take a toll on her
But she had yet to have enough

She soon became homeless
Her mom just moved away
And she turned to selling her body
For any amount of pay

She was getting older now
And was forced to fend for herself
So she began to shoplift and steal
As means to increase her wealth

Although she got away sometimes
Several times she failed
And at the age of 18
She was sentenced to serve time in jail

She was accustomed to a rough lifestyle
But jail was nothing she could fathom
A young girl dealing with hardships of the world
But this, she never imagined

It was the worst experience of her life
And it made her want to curl up and die
But she never ever told a soul
She just kept it bottled up inside

She vowed that once she was released from jail
She would alter her future
She spent the remainder of her time reading
And books were her only tutors

She found a love in writing
And her words made people gasp
She did not allow her future
To be dictated by her past

She had grown up so fast
And I just knew she would be great
Through trials and tribulations
She didn’t let her past determine her fate

She became a well known writer
And shared her story throughout the world
She used her knowledge and experience
To write the autobiography of this girl

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