The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "I Did It for My Mom"
I Did It for My Mom
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Encouragement That Keeps on Giving

Pre-Reading Activity: 10 minutes
Write the following prompt on the board or chart paper, and give everyone a few minutes to think about it and write a response:

Write down a piece of encouragement or help that has stuck with you. (The person who cheered you on doesn’t have to be around anymore.) What was it about these words or this action that inspired you? Did you stick with something or accomplish something because of the encouragement or help?

After a few minutes, ask group members to share. Let them pass if they want to and give them a second chance at the end; they may want to read after all when they hear other people’s examples. Tell the group to pay attention to each other’s responses and jot down any that they especially relate to.

Read the Story: 10 minutes
As a group read “I Did It for My Mom” by Johileny Meran out loud. Go around in a circle and have everyone read; give people permission to pass.

Group Discussion: 20 minutes
Remind the group of the prompt they wrote about earlier, and ask them to do the same exercise for Johileny. How did her mom encourage and help her? [She fought for her right to be in school; she moved to the U.S. so Johileny could get surgery; she got her on the schoolbus in her wheelchair and bought her puzzles to keep her mind occupied; she gave her the pep talk when Johileny was 7 that teachers would underestimate her but she had to keep trying.] How did this help? [Johileny drew strength from the memories of her mom and graduated at the top of her class.]

Ask the group what “resilience” means. If they don’t know, explain that it’s the ability to persist when things are hard, like Johileny did. Ask, “Where does resilience come from? What helps people able to be resilient when bad things happen?” One answer is encouragement, but maybe they have others. If nobody says it, point out that helping and encouraging others can make you feel better and even stronger. Invite anyone to give advice or encouragement to someone else in the group, based on what they shared earlier.
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