In middle school now, Rebka and Citlaly have each attended Wesley-Rankin’s afterschool and summer enrichment camp since the third grade. The dynamic duo builds off of each other’s energy while discussing the West Dallas housing crisis, developing personal responsibility, and what Wesley-Rankin means to them.
Q: What do you guys tell your friends about Wesley-Rankin?
Rebka: Well, I tell them that it is this good place. There is an afterschool program. I tell them about the homework help especially, because some of them need it. For summer camp, I tell them about how there a lot of volunteers and activities, so you’re always moving. It’s hands-on stuff and things that you have probably never experienced before.
Citlaly: For me, I tell my friends that it is an opportunity to experience yourself, be yourself, and get help with a lot of things.
Q: Have you guys had an experience here that has made you feel very deeply?
Citlaly: I have. [After the eviction crisis,] just thinking if I left my dog, and I had to leave this school, this afterschool program, a lot of memories would be lost. I would have to rewind my story. It would be difficult for me to forget all my life in here, in Wesley-Rankin and West Dallas. After that, I told my parents how Wesley-Rankin said, we will help you find homes; move out; we will take care of your dog; we will help you; and we will always be here.
Rebka: It would probably be GOh! GOh! Girls! (Girls of Hope! Girls of Honor! is a program designed to increase self-esteem and decision-making in middle school-aged girls), because, we talk about how our future could be like and how it could not be like. So, how you need to plan ahead and think about what you want to do, what you need to do, and what you need to change. We talk about things like, are you responsible for your things? Have you checked on this? How do you be this kind of [responsible] person?
Q: So how do you think your future is going to be different because you had that conversation?
Rebka: It makes me think about it a little bit more. So my actions and my words will be better because of that.
Q: And how do you think your future is going to be different because you came here?
Citlaly: I think that my future will be different because here, we have opportunity.
Q: What is the best thing about Wesley-Rankin?
Rebka: It would be the staff here. Because, whenever you’re having a bad day, whenever you’re having issues, they have been through that. So they tell you what to work on and what to do, and how not to let this problem happen anymore. I actually don’t speak to a lot of teachers at school. But Wesley-Rankin’s teachers understand when you talk and they listen to you.
Citlaly: I agree with her, I am grateful for the staff because that was helpful for me, for the emotions I had, how I felt. Like, sometimes I feel sad in school because of problems. But I think I can be myself in here. I don’t know if it is for the happiness in here, for God that is in here, or a bunch of things. But when I come here, it always gives me the energy to keep going on in life.