In the poorest to Washington's inner city neighborhoods where poverty and deprivation are often taken for granted, Rudolph Boush is one man who really means it when he says, "I just hate to see any kid deprived."
A teacher's aide with the D.C. public schools, Boush typically spends his Saturdays taking his pupils on outings to Kings Dominion or the Capital Centre or to watch fighter Sugar Ray Leonard train. If a youngster fails to show up for school in the morning, Boush will stop by his house to find out why.
If a parent of one of his students is hopitalized, Boush will take him to the hospital for a visit. On rainy days, he sometimes gets up at 4:30 a.m. to help students with their paper routes. If they have trouble getting the clothing they need, he'll buy if for them out of his own pocket. And when they're in trouble academically, he'll stop by their homes at night to help them with their school work.
Boush is assigned to Bundy School in Northwest Washingyon a school for youths 13 and older who are having emotional or behavioral problems-and literally every student inthe school needs some kind of special attention.
About 150 parents, students, former students and parents of former students at Bundy gatheredSunday at the Potomac Gardens housing project community center in Southeast Washington for a chicken dinner and a hege thank-you to Boush and the rest of Bundy School staff.
"We thought that this man had done so much for our kids and so much for other kids that it was a good idea for us to do something for him," said Mary Briscoe, whose son, Donald, 13, isin Boush's class.
"Mr. Boush was taught our children pride in themselves," said Willa Little, the mother of 13-year-old Eugene Little, one of Boush's students.
"He is teaching them to cope in a world where little has been provided for them. He has acted as a father figure for those whoare fatherless or for those whose fathers are not with them. He has spent his own money to provide certain things for these children and he gives of his time long after school hours are over. He's interested in any child that needs help. Rudolph Boush has taught our children self-respect."
Added another parent, "if anyone should have a gold medal, he should have one. He's so interested in the children. He's more like a big brother. My son is progressing so well with Mr. Boush. He's doing his homework for the first time."
A graduate of Anacostia High Scholl, Boush, 29, served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam and was wounded in action near Danang. He has worked at Bundy since 1977 and before that for D.C. Recreation Department.
As a child, he grew up with a brother and two sisters in the Fairfax Village area of far Southeast Washington, and he remembers being taken by his parents on the kinds of outings on which he now takes his pupils from Bundy.
"My father used to take us to see the Senators baseball games, picnics and things like that," he said.
A single man, he has virtually adopted the boys in his class as his family, and he does it, he says, simply because he "loves kids."
"All my life, I've wanted to work with kids," he says.
Bundy school, set up in 1975 to serve children who have difficulty functioning in normal classroom situation, has an enrollment of 97 students. To work with them it has 11 teachers, three social workers, two clinical psychologists, two crisis resource teachers, one reading specialist, two speech therapists, one industrial arts teacher, one administrator and 18 educational aides.
"We try to give our children a therapeutic program based on their social and academic needs," said the principal Marlene Arline.
"You have to be a dedicated, enthusiastic individual to work here. There's no one here, including me, who knows it all, but we do try to relate to the students in terms they can identify. We create an environment of acceptance. In a crisis, we're not here to hurt them and we're not here to suspend them."
All of the Bundy staff puts forth an extra efforts, says Arline, but no one quite to the degree that Boush does.
"He's just excellent. He's so dependable and he enjoys working with the children. He goes out of his way to do things for them," she says.
Boush is an aide to Doris Mims, a special education teacher at Bundy, and together they are responsible for a class of six boys. Because students at Bundy require so much individual attention, there are rarely more than eight in a class, says Arline.
"When we started at the beginning of the year I would say this was one of the toughest classes in the school," said Mims. "They were running out the door all the time. I would run after them in one direction and Boush would be running in the other.
"I am so proud of them this year. If I had to evaluate them now, I would say they are one of the best, if not the best classes in the school. And Boush has been great with them."
Usually dressed in jogging pants and a sweatshirt, Boush travels across town in a Volkswagen bus to visit students and parents in their homes. The bus is invaluable, he says, when it comes to peddling a fat Sunday newspaper on a rainy morning or going on an outing with a group.
Besides helping his students deliver newspapers, Boush is also with them when they make their collections.
"Eugene was having trouble counting money, so Mr. Boush went with him to help him learn to count," said Willa Little. "He's trying to teach him how important it is to be self sufficient."
When Little a single parent, was hospitalized recently for a calcified lung, Boush stepped in to offer help. Every other night, he brought Eugene to the hospital to visit his mother and he took him on outings and shopping trips.
"It was a good experience for Eugene," said his mother. "He had never been shopping before with a man." CAPTION: Picture, Donald Briscoe, teacher's aide Rudolph Boush and Eugene Little. By Craig Herndon-The Washington Post