The Provider: Meeting Needs to Save a Child
“I’ve got to check in on America’s worst nightmare,’ announced the Reverend Eugene Rivers. “Ten-year-old kid. His daddy was shot through the head. His mama’s got ‘chemical’ issues. He’s a ringleader. You can just see it. He’s been getting into trouble – they already caught him with a knife. He’ll be packing a Glock [a gun] before long, unless someone gets to him.”
“Hey, money,” Rivers told the boy in a meeting arranged in the school library. “You know what I’m doing here? I’m gonna keep you outta jail.” The boy stared at him without expression. “What do you like to do?” Rivers asked. “You like movies?” Kareem nodded. “What do you want to see?” Kareem finally spoke. “Anaconda,” he mumbled.
“Tell you what,’ Rivers said. “I’ll take you to see Anaconda if you can stay out of trouble between now and Friday. You know what I’m saying? No more knives. I’m gonna wring your monkey butt, I catch you with a knife.”
“I didn’t have no knife,” he said.
“Oh, yes, you did,’ Rivers said. “Now I’m gonna be checking up on you. I’m gonna come round your house, talk to your mother after school. Where are you gonna be?”
“Give me five,” Rivers said, and Kareem dutifully held out his palm for a slap. “All right! You’re the man!” Rivers said, standing. Kareem also stood, and the Reverend hugged him close. “You know that I love you, right?'”Kareem smiled nervously. “We’re gonna keep you out of jail. Go on back to school now. All right? Oh-kay.”
Afterwards, Rivers said, “You see that smile? You see the way he lit up? See, he’s doable. We can get him. But you got to do an intensive thing with him. He’ll go for the love thing, ’cause he’s never seen it from a black male before.”