Janice Dean, Student, Teen Staff Member at the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club, Age 13; Evarts, Kentucky:
“I go to Black Mountain Elementary, but I’m gonna be going to Harlan County High School. (Nervous about going into high school), new people, bigger environment, harder classes.
I like to draw, I like to read, I like to crochet. I like to do a lot of things. I mainly read kinda more of the adventure love novels. Here lately the biggest series I’ve gotten into is the Immortal Series.
When I graduate, I’m gonna be seventeen so I’m gonna get a part time job or two until I’m eighteen. And then when I turn eighteen I'm going to go to a college and the college that I want to go to is either MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or Harvard. I’m on my academic team and get good grades, so I guess I’m fairly smart. I’m mainly good at math and science, so.
Most of the boys, they’re like, ‘I love hunting and riding motorcycles!’ Me, sketching and reading, I’m a book nerd. Being a nerd, it’s a compliment. I don’t know exactly the definition of a nerd, but most people say it’s like smart people or people who like anime. Whenever I get out of college I’m either going to be a physicist, a mathematician, or a therapist. That’s a whole ‘nother field, but I like psychiatry and I like to help people.
Whenever I was really little, like maybe a year or two, I lived in Ohio, but we moved over here because it was better than Ohio.
My dad’s from here. My dad is a coal miner. He gets home really, really grouchy because he says that a lot of people at work are kinda stupid and don’t know what they’re doing. He is the person who runs the trains and stuff and he’s the only one up there that knows how to do it. He (also) helps my papaw. He helps him out with the work that he does (in the mines). I think it's good for now to where we still have (coal), but eventually in the future we’re gonna have to find some other source of energy because we are running low on it and it’s slowly diminishing and people are overusing it. My dad has a messed up back from working in the mines. You know, there’s just a lot of problems that come out of (working there) like a lot of sickness and physical problems. My grandpa, he actually has to limp. He has bad lungs and his back does hurt.
I don’t exactly live in the mountains; I live by mountains. It’s kinda fun cause you can see like all the pretty sights and everything, and plus, you can like, sketch them out.”
Hillbilly? No, I’m more city because everyone who says that they’re a hillbilly usually likes the country. I despise it. Well honestly, and plus hillbillies, they have this kinda weird accent, which I might have it and just not realize it, but people tell me I talk more proper.
One of my happiest times, it was winter. I was eight and we just got done being outside building a snowman. And my dad has a four-wheeler so he ties our sled to the back of the four-wheeler and takes us sledding on the road.
One of my saddest times was probably whenever my cousin Daisy, who lives in Ohio (died). We only got to see her a few times, and she passed away because she had a really bad heart condition. She was only bout two years old.
We don’t go to Ohio as much. There’s not really much difference besides maybe like the way the houses look and the neighborhoods. To me, personally, around Harlan the neighborhoods all seem to be fairly well, but in Ohio they’re some neighborhoods that are really, really well and some that are like, in bad condition.
I like the outdoors, but my mom and dad don’t like me in the mountains too much cause they’re scared of snakes and stuff.
The closest thing that I think that I’ve had to mountain food would probably be deer meat, and I only eat it in chili, but it’s really good. I like cornbread if it’s sweet. Soup beans, I despise them. My favorite things to eat, I like junk food a lot and I also like fruits. So, so my favorite is blueberries and cheesecake.
The Boys and Girls Club, it’s a really good place to be for kids. Especially if they are having like either home problems or school problems ‘cause they always have someone that they can talk to. Even the teen staff, like me and Cheyenne and Zach, they can still come to us and we won’t be like ‘No, we can’t help you or don’t talk to me.’ It’s a friendly environment. It means that you help out the younger ones and it means you also help out the staff.
I’m not gonna say names, but there’s this girl, she’s having boy problems to where she likes a guy but he’s kinda rude to her. So I’m trying to help her understand she doesn’t have to change herself for him.”