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Wasted Potential

Member Since Jan 1, 2000
1019 Images, Last upload May 4, 2015

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There is an area in San Francisco known as South of Market or SoMa. Today it is home to upscale hotels and condominiums, restaurants, museums and boutique shops. Forty years ago it was a decaying neighborhood filled with the poor, the old and the hopeless. Almost everyday the local paper carried news of rapes, murder and drug use. I still remember one story that reported on an eight year old heroin addict. Yes, children also lived there.

In my early twenties I was enrolled in a teacher training program at San Francisco State College. The curriculum included classes in social psychology which where meant to introduce we children of the middle class to real life. We would visit facilities run by selfless and underpaid people who were desperately trying to salvage these children. We had no authority or responsibility but that didn't mean our hearts weren't broken seeing how damaged these kids were.

Alice was quiet and serious. Daryl was playful but quick to anger. They were so bright. They had been physically abused by their parents and had been taken in by someone authorized by the city to care for them. In America we have a saying, "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps". This represents the American myth of the rugged individual who succeeds without help from anyone. Its impossible, however, to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps if you have no boots. Most of these kids never had a chance.
November 8, 2012
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Image Comments

Nov 8, 2012 12:24:38 am
Wonderful portraits of these beautiful Kids!! So heartbreaking to hear their story!!

by bobrgallegos Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 1:04:01 am
Wonderful portrait

by razabazarguy Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 1:09:52 am
Moving photos.
At least your election result will not mean an immediate return to that ethos imposed on the bootless.

by durleybeachbum Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 2:32:46 am
Many of these children have experienced in her short life more than others her whole life before. You have to experience what no one wants. Although it is now
there is no more poverty in this neighborhood, it does not mean that the situation is resolved. No. These desperate people have moved to another area and continue their struggle for survival continues elsewhere.
Here in Germany there is also much suffering. There are abused children, children starve to death or be discarded after birth. Children are killed. The penalties are a travesty. Children are the weakest link in society. You need heat, the grants, training from us. There are organizations that take care of, give these children a little bit of everything. But they are almost all dependent on personal initiative. It's a terrible cycle.
But as long as there are people, not look away, there is a little hope.
Thank you very much for this post and wonderful photos!!

by JuliSonne Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 2:47:46 am
There is nothing worse than suffering children... innocence destroyed before it even had a chance.
It fills me with both grief and rage.

by ZanderXL Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 8:58:06 am
Beautiful photos and wonderful & heartbreaking story - one that is read everywhere

by Faemike55 Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 9:20:57 am
Beautiful portraits, and such a sad story. I wonder what became of them?

by auntietk Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 11:09:31 am
Great photos Mark!Is sad that kids can't develop their potential. Here we have a lot of this!

by netot Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 12:04:10 pm
Sad story, nice shot.

by ragouc Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 4:19:26 pm
wonderful portraits and fascinating and insightful writing

by alanwilliams Homepage »

Nov 8, 2012 5:34:58 pm

by sandra46 Homepage »

Nov 10, 2012 10:21:42 pm
Heaven help the child who never had a home,
Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone
Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall,
Heaven help us all.
(Ron Miller)

These were beautiful children; roses that should have been cherished. Instead they experienced human violence and neglect. It is such an old and familiar story and seems to have no end. Beautiful portraits and heartrending narrative.

by myrrhluz Homepage »

Dec 8, 2012 5:25:57 am
Telling your story here and looking at these images, shows the essence of what really happens behind the scenes - which not everyone sees or is aware of (?) or it just simply gets ignored by ...
we are all trying to help, as much as we can and this is what the politicians want us to do - it's our job!?

B&W does tell the real story,

by blondeblurr Homepage »


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