LIVING / HOLIDAYS
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
Kearmani Bogan, 12, holding Precious, her cat, with her grandmother, Darla Dowdell, right.
Goodfellows: Homewood family guided by nonproﬁthttp://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10349/1110829-323.stm1 of 712/17/10 10:26 AM