"It's fun at first, but then it starts to get old," he said. "I never really liked going out all that much, anyway, but I was like, 'There's really nothing to do now.?
Watching hour after hour of "Grey's Anatomy," he said with a grin, started to seem reasonable.
So many children and teens have struggled to adjust and to stay on track during the pandemic, Johnson said. She's thrilled that Antonio, who has a supportive family and keen interests, found ways to thrive.
She worries about those who face a bumpier path.
McNeil said "Miss Reese" – as the kids at Directions for Youth and Families refer to Johnson – works hard to show them possibility.
"If it weren't for the program being there, I don't know if he would be this deep into it," McNeil said of her son's sneaker business.
Antonio also loves to cook - his family says his shrimp alfredo is amazing - and he wants to attend culinary school. Restoring sneakers "could be a good hustle for college," Johnson said. "His mom is big on saving."
Still, Antonio thought he could perhaps sneak one past his mom and get her to sign off on a new pair of "school shoes." She reminded him that he'll be learning from home for at least the next several weeks.
McNeil also noted the north-of-$200 price tag. "Nice try, Antonio."
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