The volunteer project wrapped up at the end of August and we now have a short (student) film which the kids can use to meet probationary requirements and college credits. An interesting experience and I truthfully wasn’t sure what to expect – I was on my best behavior, trying to set a good example which was in contrast to John’s approach to the project. One of our first assignments was at the Toronto Archives doing some research for the film, following which John suggested we all go to a bar for a few beers. I mean, all four of these kids have spent time in jail and are on probation, and John wants to drag them into a bar. Or, he’s telling them about the (film) industry parties and how easy it is to pick up insecure actresses and models. I suspect my idea of mentoring is a bit too rigid, but this was my first go-around, so no need to be too hard on myself. I’d like to pick up another project, but will focus on other things for the moment in an effort to balance out my time up here.
The volunteer work is going just about as expected with the exception of the time commitment. I was expecting to be busier, but am not complaining as I have plenty of other things going on. Last week I stacked a week long intensive creative writing course at the University of Toronto on top of what I had scheduled and it was a hectic week – I didn’t get to sleep before midnight all week, but it was worth it.
We have four kids attached to the project, all from under privileged backgrounds. Freddie is the most engaged of the bunch – bright, articulate, genuinely curious about all manner of things including the island. The remainder are just keeping the seats warm and only want to get through the project to satisfy probationary requirements. We’re still in the early stages of it though, so I’m hoping this changes. John, the project lead, has three projects on the go, one of which is dealing with homeless kids living in a shelter in Mississauga and he needs a hand, so I’ve volunteered my time starting later this week. John’s an interesting character; a heavy drinker and smoker, I get the impression he has heard one sad story too many and the well is now dry. Mental note to self: do what I came to do and then move on to the next thing, don’t stay too long.