Note From Jon


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back to School Day

Round Two of volunteering on Martin Luther King Day of Service was won by the racist unenlightened corporations. Last year eight friends took the day “on” to paint Hine Middle School. This year I was on my own—alright, well I was a group of one—joining the JCC volunteers at Ferebee Hope Elementary School in Anacostia. I still had a fun and fulfilling time, but it was tinged with the disappointment that this isn’t a more respected national holiday. Regardless, I plan to keep the tradition going and at least for myself make the association between MLK Day and volunteering as strong as Thanksgiving turkey and fireworks on the Fourth. And perhaps in the future, if not recognizing the holiday, more corporations will at least take after National Geographic and offer their employees a floating volunteering day.

The bookend to my school day was yet another return to Woolly Mammoth Theatre, this time to see Nilaja Sun’s one-woman show about the school system entitled “No Child…” For those keeping track, yes, that would indeed be my third trip to Woolly Mammoth in three weeks and my second one-woman show in two weeks, and yes, as satirized in Nutshell, the two Woolly Productions involved both a ghost and a dysfunctional family! Apparently I am addicted, or else my New Year’s Resolution somehow evolved into see-woolly-more (rather than free-willy-more?). Although I enjoyed “No Child…” and think Nilaja did an outstanding job portraying the characters, the piece itself really didn’t cover any new ground for me. That’s not to say it isn’t an accurate portrayal of the struggles of teaching (I know my middle-school-theatre-teaching sister could identify), just that in my mind it will be hard to top the depiction of the inner-city school system from Season 4 of The Wire…

Notes to Jon:

  • On the surface (which is all I saw) both the school and the neighborhood were in much better condition than I had expected
  • For a small group (like 1) I think the JCC is a better option than Greater DC Cares. At least for the school I was at, the volunteers seemed to be an assortment of friendly individuals or small groups, whereas my impression from last year with Greater DC Cares is that it was much larger groups. Greater DC Cares did provide lunch though…
  • Woolly Mammoth must be instituting a frequent attendee program because our seats were right in the second row, despite being about 80 people back in line (after arriving at 6:10).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

C'mon Jon, its not like MLK did anything special. So he did a couple of marches! Whoop de do da! It's not like he helped secure the liberty and freedom of a multitude of races in this country or anything or that he risked his life and the lives of his family members everytime he spoke out in support of ending prejudice in this country. Wait, my five year old just told me that this is exactly what he did.

Seriously though, here is the reason to get excited about technology. On MLKJR day my five year old son was home and asked us about why he had the day off from school. So, I swept him up and off to the internet for a video of the 'I have a Dream' speech. By the end of the video my son had said the following:

1)His words are very powerful
2)He sounds like he is signing
3)Why didnt little black boys and little white boys play together?

We watched the entire 15 minute speech and he was focused on it the whole time.

My five year old got it in 15 minutes. THAT was the power of Dr. King.\\