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Saturday, February 03, 2007


IVAN PRAYS FOR A SUPERMAN TO FIND HIM A HOME For a special report, ABC News "20/20" followed the lives of three children growing up in Camden, N.J.: Billy Joe, Moochie and Ivan. In a public park, Diane Sawyer met Ivan Stevens; his mother, Precious; and his little brother, Imere. Sometimes they spent the whole day dirty, hungry and homeless, with no place to go. The owner of an illegal boarding house occasionally gave them a place to sleep. He padlocked the refrigerator to keep them from taking food, and all three of them slept on one chair, surrounded by clutter and roaches. Ivan wished he could be Superman and fly on someone's back to find his family a home. "Superman" had also heard of kindergarten. "I wanna go to school so bad. I wanna read," Ivan said excitedly on the first day of school. On the way to school, though, reality set in, and Ivan realized that for the first time he'd be without his mother's protection. He was also afraid that the other kids would be mean to him, and he started to cry. "It's alright. ...

You can be scared," his mother said. "But you gotta be a big boy. I'm not going to ever leave you where you [are] not welcome." The teacher welcomed Ivan to the class, and he reluctantly said goodbye to his mother. A school administrator sat down and helped him get started. "Do you know your threes?" asked the school district supervisor. Ivan easily counted the three wheels on the tricycle, but he was stumped when asked how many meals you are supposed to eat in a day. Ivan, who has gone to school without eating breakfast, was puzzled. The words "lunch" and "dinner" seemed foreign to him. In fact, at the end of the day, when commenting on how great kindergarten was, he proudly showed the extra juice box he was able to take with him. "I'm not going to cry no more, and I'm going to be a big boy," he said, noting that he also had eaten cheese with bread and applesauce. The bravery of these children fighting poverty and fear everyday will both amaze and enrage you.

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