Monday, March 25, 2013

From Weezy to Keezy

You don’t know what a trap house is?  You said you listen to Weezy and you don’t know what a trap house is? You never seen Boyz n the Hood?

Is that a movie??

I sat at a lab bench with my after-school crew of 16-18 year olds. We ate warm pizza with warm Pepsi, discussing crack houses, dope houses, the general location where drugs are sold or made. We were in the throes of designing a survey on prevalent health issues at Washington High School.

I stopped typing and laughed at their general disgust of my naivety.  Then, I laughed at myself. These kids could have been speaking of string theory in Mandarin and I would have felt smarter. But, oddly enough, my inadequacy really took me off guard. See, this survey isn’t my first rodeo in drug questionnaires, Biggie Smalls was my first true love, and I attended a high school at the intersection of 2 interstates (2 words: drug exchange). I’m not used to being schooled by 16-year-old kids on public health issues. But, it was awesome and I don’t think I would have always said that.

I am a 2012 graduate of C2C.  A little over a year ago, I stepped into an APS classroom for the first time. I won’t say I never looked back.  I won’t say it was a reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of love. But I will say that my path is a little bit rockier, a little bit messier, and a little bit more enlightened because of it. When I came to Atlanta, I had an idealistic view of the world as a ripe and golden promise land.  Give the kids all the knowledge! Give Africa all the condoms! Can’t stop, won’t stop.

But I failed.

Not because I didn’t make it rain condoms down in Africa, that’s probably not actually what they need. But because I gave up. Public Health programs aren’t perfect and I have no idea what I’m doing. That’s hard.

See, C2C got me thinking. I’m noticing the bigger issues, the structural inequalities that are more than “inconvenient.” I’m frustrated, I’m borderline (completely) desperate, and I’m so over red tape. But I’m also thankful because I’m not the only one. There are about 50 amazing men and women that have graced room 3001, and this is just the start.

The truth is, you’ll hate some moments.  You’ll hate the stupid boxes on lesson plans that represent the vicious, stifling concept of being organized. You’ll hate that you don’t know the right answers or the dream solutions. But, it doesn’t matter. We’re all here because we dreamed of something bigger. This is one chance to prove, be it to yourself, that you still do.

-Erin Keyes


  1. Erin, I love your exuberant posts and make-it-big attitude. Also, nice use of Toto's Africa. I almost feel like a YouTube song and an Urban Dictionary link should be a requirement for every blog post. You're just the best.

    I want to hear more about your frustration and red-tape-hatin'. Maybe we can Skype over tea some time and grumble about everything that is wrong in the world. Including that clouds don't rain condoms. Then we can blast Toto and get ready for round 1,054 of making the world a better place.


  2. JAJAJA, Gaelle! Once I finish choking on the coffee I spit out laughing at your comment, I'd love to skype! And pump up the Toto jams. It would be lovely to verbally acknowledge some of these common struggles and quit leaving them to be poignant points of anxiety/limitation/fear...etc. You're just the best! Thanks for gettin' it.


  3. Wow...not only was that on POINT but incredibly well written. Erin, please never stop sharing your thoughts. Also, I'm going to request that you write a book and start a blog, A.S.A.P (Thank you T.I.)



  4. Erin,I could NOT have said it better myself. Well written and genuinely put!

    P.S. Learning what a trap house is is only the beginning...I predict many voacb lessons in your future.