Despite their initial shyness, they were infected by our enthusiasm pretty quickly. In turn, we became ever more excited and were soon in awe of the kids’ abilities and passion for learning. They were ever ready to learn, to accept guidance, and to share their ideas. In fact, we too learned from them. I am sure that each and every one of us had unique experiences throughout the three days.
A quick re-cap in case you have not been with us over the past few days: the Passion Project, in collaboration with the UBC Community Learning Initiative and UBC Slam, with the support of the Simon K. Y. Lee Global Lounge and Resource Centre, connected UBC students with students at Queen Alexandra (QA) in Grades 6 and 7 to promote literacy and expression through the arts. We had 3 streams – music, slam poetry, and photography. The best part of it all, UBC students were involved with the stream that they were passionate about. I believe this was the driving force behind the amazing work of our team in collaboration with the students at QA. In fact, it led to some AWESOME, spontaneous, jamming sessions that took place whenever an opportunity presented itself. Imagine: violins, drums, slam poets, singers, beat boxers, guitars…and more. All in one place, improvising and creating a shared experience.
The project was an inspiring and eye opening experience. I learned so much from the students I worked with – mainly about letting my passion set the path of my life. It doesn’t have to be right or perfect, as long as it enables me to be ME. I fully believe the students we worked with will also succeed in pursuing their passion, given the proper guidance and enough support. Despite whatever challenges they face (check out this article to learn more about the challenges facing inner city schools), they take every opportunity presented to them to be doing what they love.
A comment made by one of the staff serves as a testimony to this:
Many substitute teachers taught these kids, tried to discipline them but they never succeeded in putting a smile on their faces. But all of you did it in such a short time. It took me a couple of years to realize that I need to learn their ways to teach them effectively. But you focused on their desires and allowed them to take charge of their own learning.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said:
It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.
Would you risk the reasons of the world to be doing what you have always wanted to do?