The Kids On the Block
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Melody James

Melody James is an eleven year old girl who is part of a big family. She loves to roller skate, play soccer, and enjoys ballet lessons. She sometimes gets frustrated with her brothers. She explains, “I have these four older brothers . . . YUCK! They tease me, they tickle me, and do you know what they’re doing now? They’re calling me Melvin! And I’m a girl! Double Yuck!” Deep down, though, Melody loves all of her brothers, especially her big brother Shaun.

Two years ago Melody’s brother, Darryll, died in an automobile crash. Her family had a very difficult time dealing with his death, especially her brother Shaun, who has depression. For the rest of the family, things are better now that some time has passed. Melody says, “Now that it’s been two years, it doesn’t seem to hurt as much.” Even though Darryll died, Melody still refers to herself as having four older brothers and one younger brother. Melody lives with her mother Teresa, father Kendall, older brothers Shaun, Daniel and Kenneth, and younger brother Todd.

While Melody grieves at Darryll’s death, she shares with her friend, Michael Riley, the peace and comfort she and her family received when they donated Darryll’s organs so that others might live. Melody demonstrates that the sorrow felt by family members at the tragic and untimely death of a loved one is eased, to some extent, by the gift of life.

The ability to understand feelings and to learn how to problem-solve are indicators of her maturity. Although she may be a little bit stubborn sometimes, Melody displays sensitivity and willingness to learn new communication skills. When her friends are facing challenges, she is quick to get involved and aid in resolving problems. Melody is a careful and cautious child, and she is aware of how thoughtlessness can lead to trouble.

Melody is one of the original KOB characters and is a featured character in The Kids on the Block program on children’s mental health. She also appears in the programs on bereavement, brain injury, bullies and school safety, cerebral palsy, children of divorced parents, coping with crisis, emotional disturbance, fire safety, family literacy, learning disabilities, mental retardation, organ donor and transplant, severe burns, sibling of a child with a disability, vehicle & pedestrian safety and visual impairment.