Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'I Think We're Just Rich in Love' Grandparents Take in Two Young Girls

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'I Think We're Just Rich in Love' Grandparents Take in Two Young Girls

Article excerpt

About four years ago, Teri and Robert Scott made room in their Clairton home for their two young grandchildren after their daughter was no longer able to care for them.

The move became permanent, and although the girls are "thriving" these days, providing for a family of four on a fixed income hasn't always been easy, said Ms. Scott, 55, a homemaker whose husband, 64, stopped working last year.

Her granddaughter Amber Pruitt, a lively third-grader at Clairton Elementary who loves writing and has a way with words, was matter-of-fact about their outlook: "I don't think we're rich. I think we're just rich in love, that's all."

Amber, 9, and her sister, Javonna Pruitt, 10, attend an after-school program four days a week at the Gwen's Girls location at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Clairton, where they also attend Sunday school and sing in the choir. The North Side-based nonprofit, which serves at-risk girls, is among the groups the Pittsburgh Cares organization provided Toys for Tots to this year.

Ms. Scott said the program walks the girls through the travails of adolescence and gives them opportunities several times a month that the family wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, such as swimming, ice skating and trips to cultural institutions.

During a recent visit to their home, the girls were chatty and dressed in orange and black in honor of the Clairton High School state championship football game that day. Javonna, whose favorite subject is math, drew at the kitchen table near the Christmas tree while Amber read aloud "My Skin," an original poem about having pride in her blackness.

"I speak my mind," she declared.

The girls and their grandparents seem so at ease together, so natural, it's hard to imagine how things looked four years back. At first, Ms. Scott said, the girls missed their mom and struggled to understand the move.

"When I first knew I was going to get them, I was thinking, 'This is going to be hard.' And it was at first. But then it all fell into place, because they turned out to be a blessing to me," said Ms. Scott, whose own mother was dying at that time. "It filled the void. God sent them just in time."

The girls still see their mother, Christina Smith, and their 5-year-old brother, Keyjour, who is raised by Ms. …

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