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Post Gazette Goodfellows

Post Gazette Goodfellows

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Published by FamilyResources

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Published by: FamilyResources on Dec 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Each day, 12-year-old Kearmani "Keke" Bogan wakes up early, makes her bed and gets ready for the day, which includesclasses in language arts, social studies and math at a private school in Robinson.Recently, when one of her 13-year-old classmates walked out of class, she offered to help her with her work."I got her back into the classroom," Kearmani said proudly, adding that she hopes one day to become a police officerbecause "I want to help children and stop crime."That worthy goal is tempered by the reality that Kearmani has problems with authority and doesn't always follow the rules.She has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.Last June, she ran away from home, prompting an Amber Alert and reports on local newscasts. Her 46-year-oldgrandmother, Darla Dowdell, who has raised Kearmani since she was 2 months old, was frantic."She was gone for three days and it was on the news. I didn't know whether I was coming or going," Mrs. Dowdell said. "Iasked the Lord, if you bring her home ... she has to get the help that she needs. She was misled."The day before Thanksgiving, Kearmani arrived at Mrs. Dowdell's apartment in Homewood to spend the holiday weekendwith her grandmother and great-grandmother, Doris Cook. That's when her caseworker, Megan Winowich, arrived withpresents for Kearmani: a digital camera, a handheld AM-FM radio with headphones and body lotion.The gifts were as welcome as the nearly constant guidance that Family Resources, a nonprofit in East Liberty, has offeredMrs. Dowdell and her granddaughter."Family Resources has been my right hand. I don't know what I would have done without them," Mrs. Dowdell said.Ms. Winowich said Family Resources enrolled Kearmani in the Toys for Tots program, adding that the youngster wasespecially excited about receiving a camera.An articulate woman with a determined demeanor, Mrs. Dowdell moved from Detroit to Pittsburgh in 2007 to care for hermother, Mrs. Cook, who has cancer."We're here to take care of her. My dad passed on Aug. 25, 2009. He died in my mother's arms outside on the porch," Mrs.Dowdell said.The Thanksgiving visit began with Mrs. Cook in the kitchen preparing the feast and Kearmani stroking her gray cat,Precious.
Goodfellows: Homewood family guided by nonprofit
Wednesday, December 15, 2010By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
John Heller/Post-Gazette
Kearmani Bogan, 12, holding Precious, her cat, with her grandmother, Darla Dowdell, right.
Goodfellows: Homewood family guided by nonprothttp://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10349/1110829-323.stm1 of 712/17/10 10:26 AM
Mrs. Dowdell does not own a car and is unable to drive. She also knows there's plenty of temptation for a teenager so sheprays nightly that her granddaughter's time at the private school will help her.It's especially difficult for Mrs. Dowdell to be both parent and grandparent. A few years ago, she suffered a mild stroke,leaving her disabled.Despite all of the obstacles, Mrs. Dowdell keeps trying to improve her relationship with her granddaughter as well as thefamily's surroundings. In October, Mrs. Dowdell and Mrs. Cook moved from Murtland Street to Baxter Street inHomewood, mostly for Kearmani's sake."I wanted her to have a fresh new start. I wanted to get her off that corner," Mrs. Dowdell said. "It's all on Kearmani to dothe right thing."Family Resources, the largest child abuse prevention and treatment organization in Western Pennsylvania, has a $9 millionbudget and more than 200 employees. Founded more than 100 years ago as the Pittsburgh Association for the Improvementof the Poor, it acquired the Parental Stress Center last March."If you're trying to talk to parents or caregivers about how to discipline a child properly, and they are worried about beingevicted or there is no food in the house, they can't hear you," said Rebecca Hebert, director of marketing andcommunications for Family Resources."You have to find out what's threatening that solid family unit and deal with those in a life plan that's really created by thefamily with the guidance of the in-home worker. We don't go in and impose our rules," she said.Family Resources is one of more than 100 local agencies serving this season as a conduit for the Marine Corps Toys for Totsprogram. The agencies get toys funded by generous Pittsburgh Post-Gazette readers through the Goodfellows Fund.Since 1947, Goodfellows has sought to ensure that no child arises on Christmas morning without toys under the tree.Tax-deductible contributions can be made using the coupon with this story or online atwww.post-gazette.com/goodfellows.Today's total: $10,488.25Grand total: $54,550.79Mr. Paul Lane Jr. $2,000Anonymous $1,000Ellen & Jon Leimkuehler $500• Merry Christmas• Guy Haas $300Mr. & Mrs. A.J. DeArdo $200Golier Grandchildren: Max, Maddy, Maya, Gus, Lucy, Jonas & Trey $200Anonymous $200Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Oliver $125In honor of Evelyn & Bill Turocy $111Anonymous $100In memory of Benjamin John Phillips $100Brad & Leeann Golish $100The Kolonich Family $100Bill & Debbie Rieland $100Len & Diane Chuderewicz $100
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In loving memory of Brandon Abate - Love, Mom & Dad$100George & Susan Will $100Elinor McLennan $100Anonymous $100In memory of Mr. & Mrs. Masucci $100Russ McKibben $100For our children & grandchildren $100In memory of Wesley Jay Burnworth $100In memory of Helen Knaell $100Joseph P. Cain $100Monica & William Mercer $100In memory of William G. Lunz $100C.M. & Theresa Snavely $100Abe & Robin Friedman $100Anonymous $100Anonymous $75Bill and Joan Kuntz $75Anonymous $51.25John Cheripka $50Ray Wojszynski $50Summer & Chelsea Loub $50Thomas M. Weprich $50Barbara & Otey Scruggs $50In memory of Dan & Steve, Love Mom $50Colleen & Thomas Rekowski $50Anonymous $50In memory of Wes Berger $50M.J. Saccamango $50Kerrie Fisher - Merry Christmas $50Anonymous $50In honor of Andrew, Zachary & Oliver $50Lydia Balough, in memory of my father, Albert $50
Goodfellows: Homewood family guided by nonprothttp://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10349/1110829-323.stm3 of 712/17/10 10:26 AM

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