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.