I was born in Brooklyn in the year 1955. One of eight children from Puerto Rican parents, I lost my father at the age of ten, which changed our lives completely. And I had to struggle harder due to a learning disability and teachers had difficulties handling me. To keep me from becoming a problem with other children, I was always sent to the back of the classroom to draw and decorate the bulletin board. Neglecting my education and frustrated with school, at the age of twelve I dropped out, which got me into juvenile court. I spent a year in Warwick School for Boys, and to me that was a blessing in disguise. After a year in Warwick, I was released. I did not want to return to the hard life that was waiting for me at home. I wanted a better chance in life and through help from my case worker, I was placed in a group home. I was provided with my personal needs and the attention that I did not get at home and it make a big difference because I became very artistic and graduated proudly. I was given a job right after graduation in a summer camp as an arts and crafts counselor working with handicapped and emotionally challenged children, which I enjoyed for a period of three years. To this day I see children around me, and I see myself in them. I want to provide them with respect and an open ear so they can feel free to communicate their needs and to be heard as I was not heard as a child. I wish other adults would pay attention to children’s need to be heard because it makes them strong and confident and better adults in the future.