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'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

Posted December 24, 2019 in Articles

Author: Sonny Graham with Justin Glanville & Mary Fecteau

My name is Sonny Graham and I’m 9 years old, but I was still 8 when we made this story.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

I live at Woodhill Homes.

I’m telling you my story because I would like people to know how I live and what I want to be when I grow up.

Sonny's story

6:15 a.m.

Morning Alarm: A Superhero Rises

On school days, my mom wakes me up at 6:15.

I wake up in my Spider-Man costume. It’s not pajamas, but a full costume with fingers and toes. It makes me feel comfortable.

I don’t like waking up so early. Why can't kids all around the world wake up at 9 or 10? I'm not a grown person yet.

Sometimes, to help me wake up, I listen to a song.

Today, it's "Happier" by Marshmello.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

I also own a mask that I sometimes put on with my Spider-Man costume.

Our apartment is pretty nice. It has a kitchen, living room and three bedrooms upstairs.

The shower curtain is creepy. It has a dog on it that looks like he's staring at you.

6:30 a.m.

Morning Exercise: Walk, Squat and a Left Hook

I do exercises in the morning so I can get better at things like boxing and wrestling.

My mom combs my hair, which I hate.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

My mom has the same name as me, but her name is spelled with a 'u' (Sunny), and mine is spelled with an 'o.' She says she named me after her because her name is cool and people don't forget it.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

Then it’s time to go to school. My mom and I walk to the bus stop. We talk about our neighborhood and the stray cats we see.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

The bus driver tells me good morning, and I wave at my mom as he drives away.

7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

School: Space, Spider-Man and Spanish

My school is only a few minutes away. I go to Saint Adalbert Catholic School on East 83rd Street.

My teacher’s name is Mr. Gainey. He’s a nice, fun person. He doesn’t really yell a lot except when somebody gets on his last nerve.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

Today, he has our class read out loud about the International Space Station.

When he calls on me, I read:

"The International Space Station is a remarkable workplace in space. Exciting discoveries come from research being done there…"

We also write essays about our role models. I write about Spider-Man.

In case you haven't noticed, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. He has a lot of powers.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

When I grow up, I want to be like Spider-Man. I also want to be a superstar or actor.

Then our Spanish teacher comes in to teach us Spanish. We sing the numbers and the alphabet and some kids start dancing.

I do like Spanish, but sometimes it’s hard to say words.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

3 p.m.

After School: The Race

After I get home on the bus, I usually go to the Woodhill Community Center and play games.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

Today is Wednesday, so I’m going to my favorite after-school club. It’s called Mbio, which is a Swahili word for "the race."

Rev. Edward Horton runs Mbio, which is just for boys.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

Mr. Horton and his friends teach us about things like responsibility and handling anger. He teaches us how to hold our breath when we’re mad.

Later, we play games to help us concentrate, like an egg race.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

5:30 p.m.

Back Home: It's Always Fun Outside

I either go to boxing at 5:30 or walk back home around 6.

My mom lets me go outside and play with my friends before dinner.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

The thing I like best about Woodhill is there are always kids outside to play, so it's always fun outside. Except when it's raining. Then no one's outside.

Most of my friends are down the hill. When I go up the hill they sometimes mess with me. Sometimes I say something back and sometimes I just go by myself.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

7 p.m.

Homework & Dinner: 'Broccoli is Nasty'

Around 7 o’clock, my mom comes outside to tell me to do my homework. I sit at the kitchen table doing math and spelling while she makes dinner.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

Tonight for dinner is spaghetti and broccoli. Broccoli is nasty.

I usually watch YouTube while I eat. I have a YouTube channel of my own, too. It goes by the name of Ruddy im a fan Graham. I have it because I want people to support me, and I want people to know who I am.

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

At 9 o'clock, my mom tells me it's time for bed. I read a book first. It’s called The Superhero Instruction Manual.

"All right Sonny," my mom says. "Say your prayers."

'It's Always Fun Outside' : A Day in the Life of a Kid Growing Up in Public Housing

I say my prayers, turn out the light and go to sleep.

I've heard they're going to build Woodhill Homes all over again.

I hope when that happens, it looks better.

And, it's also blue.

Original Article: https://indepth.ideastream.org/sonnys-day/index.html