I first heard about MASC 491, Video Mentoring, from Gary Gillam last semester. He said the class involved teaching what I know as a broadcast journalist, interviewing, camera operation and production, audio and video editing, to special needs teens at UMFS. Up until this point, everything I was learning had been strictly for my benefit alone. There were always more interviews, more filming, more editing, re-editing, more shooting, but always just another addition to a portfolio, another step towards graduation, something else for me. I have always heard teaching is the best way to learn, and it felt good knowing I would be giving back to a community who had less of an opportunity than I. In addition, the work incorporated into both MASC 415 and MASC 460 had been daunting at times, but the new experiences were always exhilarating, especially working in such a fast paced environment. Even after all this though, thinking of teaching just once a week for a semester to high school-aged kids weighed heavily in the pit of my stomach. Would I be patient enough, kind enough… know enough?
But Gary is very persuasive, which is a really good thing because meeting the staff and teens at UMFS on Tuesday not only put my mind at ease about the months ahead but it became clear that this class is going to be much more about teaching. Getting to know and understand such a unique group of students will no doubt be an exceptionally positive experience- for everyone involved. For example, it was comforting how much learning about certain disorders from Ceeley before meeting the crew benefited me as I interacted with them, and the staff on campus was welcoming and ecstatic for us to be there. However, what really drew me in was watching the way the others seemed to react so positively just by being given the opportunity to experience something they have clearly never done before (also impressive was how many of them are already passionate about filming and editing, which seems to uphold the original plan of teaching editing last so that they are almost forced to learn something new before the move on to something many of these students are comfortable with and excited about). My goal is to know each student’s name by the end of next week’s period.
My motivation for writing this particular blog post, truth be told, comes partially from the fact that I completely missed the deadline this week, but also because as excited as everyone is to jump into this class, I think documenting what we learn this semester is going to be equally as important to us in the future as our work at UMFS is to them in the present.
Lastly, I am interning for emPower Magazine this semester and my story due next is a profile of another organization that aims to foster and mentor children with needs, needs that are different from what we will be learning about in this class but no less special/important.
The Ruby Project is a non-profit organization that reaches out to teenage girls who have suffered some kind of abuse and are trying to overcome personal challenges. Below is a video of some of there activities taken from their youtube channel.