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A little girl named Ivey changed my life. I met her in Kindergarten; she was 5, I was 30. I had volunteered to be a mentor through Communities in School in my county and was assigned to be Ivey’s tutor. I remember meeting this precious girl with wispy blond curls and a sweet, shy face. The first year we spent together she didn’t talk much, in fact many days when I arrived I was told she was out sick again. By the end of Kindergarten, I came to understand that constant ear infections and poor health care meant she had trouble hearing and thus trouble reading. We hung in there together and by the end of the year she managed some small smiles when I came to see her.

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I’ll never forget the Christmas that…(part 2)

Getting sick at Christmas is the worst.

A week or so before Christmas in 1992 (my sophomore year), I felt a cold coming on. Sore throat, stuffy nose, sinus headache. Nothing to worry about – it felt like a normal cold that typically passes in a day or two. Around day 3, I started running a fever (ugh) and had to miss my mid-terms at school (cool!)…and then things got real.

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Growing Together…

Millimeter by millimeter, month by month, one attempt after another…eventually I could reach it.

I don’t remember how old I was, but I do remember when I could finally touch the top of the doorframe leading out of the living room of the house I grew up in. Along with a column of pencil marks on that same doorframe indicating my height on each birthday, it was noticeable evidence of my growth. The smudges on that doorframe and several others in that house that accumulated over the years also gave testimony to the continued growth (and the seemingly constant dirty hands) of a young kid.

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