Dennis’ Story


“I lived in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn until I was seven. Starting in the late 80’s, most of Brooklyn was ravaged by crime and drugs; Flatbush was no different. My mother and father were not together, so I lived with my mother and my father had visitation privileges. My father had moved upstate and out of the city when I was young, so I would see him on weekends. As it turned out, I was a very intelligent child, so when I started public school in Crown Heights (an adjacent neighborhood), I was placed in “gifted” classes. My father was concerned for my wellbeing because having grown up in underrepresented communities, he saw how even the most talented could be swallowed by life’s harsh realities.

When teachers are apathetic and family life is unstable, it seems that the writing is on the wall for young and impressionable children. My father wanted me to live with him (and my soon-to-be-stepmother) upstate, so that I would have access to better public education. After much coercion, my mother finally agreed, so I started third grade in a small school district in rural New York. Read more…