Manny Scott made the audience laugh at times but also touched on very serious issues in our society during the USD 475 General Session on Friday.
Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers, delivered the keynote address at the Shenk Gym at Junction City High School. He told JCPost.com that issues such as dysfunctional families, addiction abuse and homelessness do exist. Following the session Scott also spoke with a teenage boy who has been homeless and began working to get him some help. “There’s homelessness. This young man I’m talking to he’s homeless, roaming the streets at night, nowhere to go. So first there’s an awareness and then there’s a burden. I want to make a difference, I might not be able to fix everything, but I can do something. So everyone finding something they can do.”
Scott noted he and others were helping the young man. “So I’m trying to connect him with some resources in town, some social workers and some other people to see if we can get him some resources, get him some help, find him a place to sleep, get him some food and find out what he needs to get on his feet.”
Scott was in a similar situation when he was young. “Oh man, that used to be me. I used to be homeless, I used to be eating out of dumpsters, I used to cry myself to sleep in homeless shelters. So seeing him takes me back to who I used to be, so I’m obligated to help.” Scott dropped out of school when he was 14 years old and was homeless before a stranger inspired him to take a new path in life. He wound up in Erin Gruwell’s English class, a group known worldwide as the Freedom Writers, and portrayed in the movie starring Hilary Swank. Today he has two college degrees and is working on a doctorate degree. He noted he was helped by several loving adults ranging from teachers and coaches to a lunch lady and bus driver, and other people’s parents.
All USD 475 employees attend the general session, which is held prior to the beginning of the new school year.