2005 — student award of excellence
I would like to document teenagers who are left home alone and the effects of not having supervision. Goal: Bring awareness to parents of what I have experienced first hand the effects of being a latchkey kid. My mother, pregnant at a young age worked two jobs to put food on the table and a roof over my head. Childcare was expensive and when my mom thought I was old enough, eleven, I began to be my own baby sitter. What happened to me is not uncommon to what young latchkey kids are going through today. My story may be more extreme than others. Without going through all of the details, here are the hard facts of what happened in my life due to lack of supervision.
- Age 12 I began smoking marijuana and cigarettes
- Age 13 I lost my virginity
- From marijuana I began experimenting with other drugs
- By the time I was a senior in high school I was selling Marijuana, methamphetamines, LSD, and pills
- Eighteen years old, after a near death experience, I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. From there I spent the next five years in and out of a mental institution until miraculously I was healed, at which point, thankfully, my life took on a new direction and I found a new passion - to tell the stories of the broken among us.
The term latchkey kids originated when children would wear a key around their neck to school signifying that they would be home alone without supervision. Unfortunately latchkey kids are becoming more and more common in America. Latchkey kids first became common during World War II when the need for women to work in the war industry led to a large number of children being left alone. There are so many broken families in America now and sadly even in unbroken families, both parents have to work in order to generate enough money to support their family.
Truthfully I don’t know what the solution is to this dilemma. We (America) have spun ourselves into a tangled web. Can we undo what has been done? Can mom stay home to raise her babies when the rent must be paid, and daddy’s paycheck isn’t big enough?
It is my hope that pictures can make a difference, and my prayer that mine will stop at least one parent in their tracks, that they will make a way to be there for their children.
I will photograph three different latchkey kids and produce a photo story on the different effects and the social issues being left home aloe constantly has on a child.