Crystal Ellis, 46, gives a wake-up call to Wan'ke Hazelwood, 7, on a school day. "One way or another, even if he ends up going to bed in his own room, I'll feel a warm body next to me by the morning," Crystal says about Wan'ke joining the adults at bedtime.
Wan'ke Hazelwood, 7, prepares for his day at South Heights Elementary School with his grandfather's partner of 26 years, Crystal Ellis, 46. "James and I usually help him out getting ready in the morning, but every now and then, he surprises us and gets it done on his own," says Crystal. "He's growing up."
Wan'ke Hazelwood, 7, doesn't want to miss his bus to South Heights Elementary School where he attends second grade. Wan'ke gets up at 5:30 a.m. so he can catch the 6:30 a.m. bus. "Wan'ke waits until the last minute to get up and ready for school," says Crystal Ellis, Wan'ke's grandfather's longtime friend.
Wan'ke Hazelwood, 7, says he wants to be a professional basketball or football player when he gets older. "He will shoot around until it get's too dark to see sometimes," says Wan'ke's grandfather, James Hazelwood, 59. "Then he asks to turn the porch lights on." Crystal Ellis watches from the deck.
Crystal Ellis (left), Wan'ke Hazelwood and James Hazelwood start a Sunday dinner. "On Sundays, Wan'ke will just want to stay home and play instead of going to church, but I always tell him to get dressed," Crystal says. "If he's going to live here, he's coming to church on Sunday."
Wan'ke Hazelwood, 7, waits for his grandfather, James Hazelwood, and James' friend of 26 years, Crystal Ellis, before they went to dinner. "I always try to do stuff with Wan'ke," Crystal says. "We go watch basketball. We go out to eat. I really like bowling with him."