West Des Moines, IA
Dear Erin Gruwell:
gone through life believing that one person can't make a huge difference in the
world, that I was just one grain of sand on a beach that went on and on. When I
started reading The Freedom Writers Diary, I thought to myself, there's no way
that one teacher is going to be able to change the way the students think about
each other. They had been raised to hate anyone who was a different race, even
if they had never met them. The teachers at their school had no faith in them
and knew that they would probably drop out, and end up in jail without going to
college, and the teachers were actually okay with that. But that all changed the day you started being a teacher and
caring for each individual student as of they were your own children.
read, my mind was filled with questions. Did you wake up one day and decide it
was all up to you to make a change? Did you plan to make a difference in these
kids' lives? For me it's hard enough to change my sister's mind when I want to
borrow a shirt, but for a large group of kids to change the way they think
about each other when all they've been taught is to hate was unbelievable to me. I learned from you that little things I do can really make an
impact on someone else's life.
sure there were many days when you told yourself, "I can't do this
anymore", but you didn't quit. You started with "I WILL" and
throughout all those days and months and years, you
watched your plan unfold. On the first day when you walked into the classroom I
bet you never expected that by the end of the year, the class would have
changed the way they lived their lives, and therefore their futures. What
started as a simple plan to get through the year soon turned out to be a huge success,
changing the kid's perspectives about themselves and each other.
continue to grow older, I know that I can make a difference. I will make a
difference. Freedom Writers showed me how one
person's idea can start off as just an idea, and then grow and grow to
eventually become a miracle in so many people's lives. It taught me to raise my
voice and speak out for what I believe in and what I think is wrong. You not
only helped the kids in your class, but you also helped me and others who have
read your wonderful book. Thank you for making a difference.