Jennifer Abraham, Allentown High School Special Ed English
I work in resource rooms, which are small groups of kids. They follow the same curriculum the mainstream kids are doing, but a little different. I am a co-teacher in many classrooms where we have kids who do not have IEP’s in the same classroom as kids with IEP’s. My job is to make sure my kids can access the same information that the mainstream kids are getting and help them be successful with it. Some kids don’t need me at all; some kids need a lot of help. I also do a level literacy after school program for kids with dyslexia. I am really a reading coach.
My mom was a nurse and my dad was a drug and alcohol counselor, and they have always been in the helping profession, so I think deep down it is in my blood. My dad has always been so encouraging. He would work so hard so that he could pay for my college. And he has always been embarrassingly proud of me. But he is the best. I have personally heard many stories of the lives he has touched through his work.
My dad is a big kid. He and I would play Legos together and long after I was done, he would still be there building entire Lego towns. We couldn’t wait until he got home from work, because he would play basketball with us, or go in the pool with us. When my mom worked nights, he would be in charge of dinner, and he would ask us what we wanted. We would be like, ‘I want a Frosty from Wendy’s, and pizza bread from Little Caesars!’ And my dad would be like, ‘Ok! But don’t tell your mom!’ He was so great. He was so fun. But at the same time, I wanted to earn his respect, because I looked up to him.
When I was a little girl, we would always watch football every Sunday, especially the Jets. One of my fondest memories was when I was maybe seven years old. It was a Sunday night, and he was going to be leaving for a weeklong trip to Chicago. And when you are that young, a week feels like forever. I had gone apple picking all day, and when I got home, it was time for bed. I remember crying in my bed because I was going to miss him. So I came downstairs and he was watching Sunday Night Football. He let me sit on his lap and we ate a whole container of ice cream together, right out of the carton. He let me stay up ‘til the end of the game which was like midnight on a Sunday night. And that sums up our relationship. He and my mom are my friends, and if it wasn’t raining, I would be going over to their house to have a BBQ with them. I just want my dad to know how much I appreciate him.
Interview and article by Gregory Andrus. To see more of his work, check out his Facebook page Portraits of the Jersey Shore.