Keeping Up with Quintez: One Week Later

Mary Milz

It's one week since Quintez began his new job at Tarkington Park and the MLK Center. I followed him and another teen as they walked slowly across the park, their heads down, looking for the smallest piece of trash.

"Hey, ya missed something," Quintez joked to the other teen.

I asked him if picking up paper, wrappers, cups, food, even dirty shoes taught him anything.

"Yeah, never again," he said.

"Never what?" I asked.

"Never gonna litter," he laughed.

Turning a bit more serious, he said the job was helping him "stay more focused on what I'm doing."

He said his concentration isn't always the best. He can be easily distracted.

He said the job was also helping him "stay out of fights."

How? I asked. What had he learned?

"You just walk away, 'cause you don't always have to fight," he said. "If you want to fight, do it some place positive like a boxing ring."

But he admitted it was sometimes hard not to fight, "because you feel like you're being punked, like you don't know how to stand your ground or something."

Quintez said one of the big reasons he's trying to avoid fights is his siblings. He wants to be a good role model.

"I care about my siblings because like I want to see them do as good as I'm doing," he said. "I want to see them looking up to me as I'm looking up to someone else in the future, so I'm hoping they do positive things in the future and that I won't be a negative effect on them."

Asked who his role model was, his face lit up. "My mama. She's a dad figure in my life, really. She's a dad and a mom figure."

Quintez's father lives in Indianapolis, but Quintez said he doesn't see him very often. He didn't see him Father's Day, but he did send him a card. Instead, he spent the day with his mom and siblings.

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