What better way to learn why the Sue Duncan Children’s Center exists than to hear to the voices of its children? Every year, the Center invites its students, third grade and above, to contribute a fiction or non-fiction story to create a compilation. The Center’s latest writing project, titled Transformation, is published and available for purchase online.
Here is an excerpt from the introduction, written by Executive Director Owen Duncan:
It’s a truism that change is the only constant. The passing of time transforms everything. The childrens’ stories speak to that this year, to the arcs of life both positive and negative. Kids who have lost their parents find them, executives become homeless, a boy takes his first steps down the wrong path, a girl discovers an unusual first love. Many of the youngest authors chose to write memories of their happiest times. Others chose to confront the most challenging transformation of all.
Our first two stories deal with death and loss. Mya recalls (and partially recreates) the murder of her uncle. Beutiful writes of learning about the death of a sister she never got to meet. These stories, the simple eloquence of their grief, led to the title of this book. Our helplessness as certain changes wash over us brings to my mind the Serenity Prayer. Work to change what you can, try to accept what you cannot. It’s the trying to accept that is often so very hard.
Changing what you can is of course what the Center is all about. We exist to guide the transformation of children into adults in positive ways: non-readers turn into readers, those afraid of math become its master, poorly educated 5th graders become college bound seniors. We help deeply angry children discover their own capacity for self-control. We nurture the talents—academic, artistic, athletic—our children already possess. It’s not in any sense a one-way street. The children we work to transform, transform us deeply, with a word, a smile, a truthfully written story.