Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I was strangely nervous as I rolled through the door. There, sitting waiting, were three 13 year old girls and a hand held camera. They were at Vita doing a short documentary, as part of a school project, on the bullying and teasing of people with intellectual disabilities. We've made it a policy, and want it to be part of our culture, to say 'yes' to these kinds of projects. As such we've worked with a variety of students doing research for post graduate degrees over the years. This, though, was different. These were three school kids and a hand held camera, wildly intimidating I have to tell you.

Just before I left my office to go for the interview, I did a quick review of statistics, I readied myself for the questions to come and pushed off. I sat at the head of the table and the three of them worked at lining up the shot and then the questions were asked. I did my best to sound both informed and interesting - if they are going to show it to other kids, that would be the best approach I thought.

I was the last interview, they'd interviewed a few staff and a few of Vita's members. In fact I saw one of the fellows from the Rights Group, Vita's Self Advocacy Group, there just after his interview. I knew, from having spoken to him before, that he passionately wants the message to get into schools. He never wants anyone to go through what he did. I could tell, just from his walk in that way you can sometimes, that he was pleased to have been part of this project, pleased to be part of making a difference.

And I think he did.

Because the girls, with video camera in hand, asked serious questions. It was like they completely understood the importance of their project and the importance of getting it right. So, I did my best to say what needed to be said. They were heading out to edit their documentary, which is due Friday, and are going to make sure that everyone involved gets a copy, that their message isn't lost.

I wonder, if at some point in the future, one of these kids will be in a situation that calls for courage and bravery, I wonder if they will reach back to what happened in that room in front of that hand held camera, and do something magnificent.

Somehow, I think that may be a distinct possibility.


Elaine Bradley said...

I hope you get to share a link sometime so we can see the resultant video. It sounds like a great initiative.

John R. said...

These are the exact kinds of projects that actually are MEANINGFUL to kids that age. Hats off to the school which they are from for encouraging this learning experience and even more applause for the kids who picked this topic to document. Hope to see the film at the Sundance Film Festival someday!!! If not, YouTube will be just fine.

wendy said...

The only way to change the world is one person at a time. Here you got a two for one deal and a wider audience in exactly the place it's needed. How great is that!

Cynthia F. said...

I agree with Elaine and John - would love to see the video and would love to see my kids' schools do this project!

Dave Hingsburger said...

I will see if I can get them to put it on YouTube and then link to it. Cynthia, I don't know the class but I do know that the kids came up the with the idea themselves. Cool huh?

Jackie said...

I'm new to this forum; got here per Helen Keller :) I spent all evening last night getting to know you, Dave. Love your Blog; love your posts. Jackie from Richland, WA.

Shan said...

Your "wildly intimidating" remark made me think of this, which is maybe the best commercial I've seen all year:

Funny Geico commercial