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With his mom always on his mind, Orlando sometimes finds it difficult to concentrate on school. "When I'm in class [and] I hear ambulance[s] and stuff, I'm thinking the ambulance[s] are for my mom. And I just get worried," Orlando says.

His worries have become a distraction at school. "My heart goes out to him because of all the responsibility he has at home," Principal Denise O'Connor says.

After school, Orlando goes straight home to help his mother. Orlando's mother says she sometimes feels guilty about the amount of responsibility on her son. "Often I feel depressed and I get angry at myself because I don't want to hurt him," Awilda says. "But I need his help."

Still, Orlando wouldn't change a thing. "She's really a great mom. She's funny, cute, smart and she likes to do stuff for me and I like to do stuff for her," he says.
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FROM: Childhood Interrupted
Published on October 20, 2006

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