About 6 weeks ago the Orange County Register spotlighted me in an article about CSUF grads who had done well after finishing school. The article link is here:
And a few days after the article ran, I received an email from the high school counselor a the Glenn Rockey Probation Camp in San Dimas, letting me know that he had seen the article and was wondering if I might come speak to their boys about my career, and encourage them with seeking after an art career after they are done with serving their time in the camp. This is an all male camp, and pretty much exactly like what it sounds like – a little intimidating for me in some ways, but I was also very happy about the opportunity to speak with these youth. Today was the day – I was instructed to leave all bags and so on in my car, and go through the various locking doors to come inside and back to the high school where I proceeded to speak with four different classrooms of boys, mostly around ages 15-16, about what I do. I’ve done hundreds of workshops and lectures in the past, but there was something different about today for me – I think it was that I was doing this as a volunteer and that I really wanted to do this. I’ve wanted to seek out something along these lines for awhile now, so it was really fortuitous that they reached out to me – since I was obviously so busy and distracted that I wasn’t taking the lead ;o)
It was a great day for me, and a pleasure to be there. I’m not claiming any great change or anything of the sort that I effected today, but I was truly happy to just be there doing something that felt like giving back. Those boys have a lot of issues – if they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be there – and there were definitely some points when some tuned me out, were not the most polite, etc – but I didn’t even care. As one of the teachers said, “Don’t let it get you down, you are planting seeds and you don’t know where it will go”. That was the message I would leave all of us for today – we’re all planting seeds, even when we don’t realize it – and we never know where those seeds will go. I’m hoping I get a chance to go back and do some hands on work with those boys, bring some pastels and have some fun. What they reminded me of today is that today is the first day of the rest of my life, as well as theirs, and we all can make a difference.