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Pilot to Co-Pilots: Call for videographers



Fellow Pilots,


Basking in the afterglow of the recent rash of awesome presentations and surfing the wiki in a reflective mode has inspired me to try and script the end of the semester in a way that that lets the world know how much fun we're having with rhetoric and technology. Today, I met with Pat Fried, Dr. Gresham, and Dr. McCracken and they agreed with the grant office that we should open up our last meeting (Wednesday, December 3rd) to the entire campus and showcase the diversity of approaches we've taken and how our learning has informed, and been informed by, the real-time emergence of the Mt. Zion partnership.


I think a great way, for those interested, to anchor the Dec. 3rd open forum would be to make a video. Morgan, Jill, and I have cameras and audio recorders for these purposes, and Pat thought it would be great if


a) one/some of you could document David installing the server tomorrow.


and also if


b) one/some of you could visit Mt. Zion and film freestyle, just working with/interviewing Pat and the kids, and throw something up on YouTube for embedding on the wiki by December 2nd.


I know that Felesha, Tiff, and Patti have been to the center a number of times but all are welcome to play with the cameras, help with the editing, etc. Please post here and/or email me right away if you are interested!



Quick question for Patti, Felesha, Tiff, and others who have been visiting Mt. Zion: what day/time do you usually slate for visiting the center? What time/day is best for your schedules? I ask because I'm trying to sync you with David (working on the network), Dr. Gresham's students (who meet Monday), and a reporter for USF Magazine who also wants to visit the site.



Dr. McCracken's students went to Mt. Zion during their class meeting on Wednesday. They will share memos and video by tonight hopefully...stay tuned.










Trey, Jill, Morgan and all of the wonderful students that I have met.  I wanted to share with you some thoughts I felt compelled to put in writing about Mt. Zion.  Heads up - I am horrible about editing my own work, but thought the following might give insight to the issues that Mt. Zion Human Services and Children's Center deals with on a daily basis.





Journal 11-25-08


I cried on the way home from work tonight.  While I should have been rejoicing in the success of the of a wonderful Thanksgiving luncheon at Mt. Zion’s Children’s Center, I could not help but think of a young woman who I had a twenty minute conversation with this afternoon.  I am dismayed that I do not know her name, although I have spent a great deal of time with her three year old son Andrew over the past six weeks.


Andrew and his four year old brother were enrolled in the Center in mid-October.  I had spent more time than usual in the Center that month as the Director of the Center was out with the flu for several days.  During the first few days after Andrew’s enrollment, he screamed constantly for several hours.  I came in many times and picked him up and would hold him as did his teachers.  Remembering the impact that Baby Einstein had on my nephews, I quickly found clips on the internet and Andrew watched quietly and intensely while sitting on my lap. After a brief conversation with Andrew’s mother soon thereafter, I learned that Andrew had been diagnosed with autism.


A few short weeks later, Andrew had been prescribed psychotropic medication.  In my twenty plus years of working with children and youth, I have been opposed to medicating children.  I’m not sure if I have waivered in my opinion, but Andrew now smiles at me when I walk into a room. I question whether it is because of the initial bond we established when we first met or because he is on medication.


Back to Andrew’s mom and my reason for putting my thoughts in writing; I am not typically one who journals, but in light of reading some incredible entries in piloting pedagogies, I felt inspired and apparently have a need for an outlet.


Andrew’s mom is 24 years old.  She has three children by three different fathers.  Her oldest son now lives with her 42 year old mother because he has been involved in criminal activity and she can’t control him.  He is all of 8 years old. She told me how her four year old son who also attends the Center is obsessed with guns and holds his hand up as if it was a gun to Andrew’s head and says “die nigger”.  I still become overcome with emotion as I write this.  Andrew’s mom went on to tell me that her 4 year old son’s father is in a nursing home as one of his robbery attempts was met with violence and he was beaten to the point of paralysis on the right side of his body.  Her current boyfriend (twice her age) gets jealous of her interactions with the 4 year olds father. They live at the sister of the boyfriend’s house and the four of them share one room.  The boys sleep on the floor.


I guess I could go on with Andrew’s tale, but he, his mother, and his family are but one example of what I have lived over the past year.  Gaile is another that I feel compelled to share. Gaile is a single mother of two children, M age 4 and a 4 month old baby with heart disease and cancer.  Gaile is an incredibly resilient young woman who grew up in the foster care system.  She admittedly made bad choices about the men she has been involved with, but continues to achieve. Her two children have different father, both abusive and one of whom is in jail.  Gaile is not a victim by any measure.  She is the mom who took the lead in coordinating parental involvement in our Thanksgiving celebration. She has a good job with an incredibly generous boss, who by my estimation has been an influential factor in her life and the successes she has achieved.  By the way, Gaile has recently lost the only family she has known as her foster mother passed away last month.


These are only a couple of the many stories I could tell. Dr. Jill McCracken’s class came to the Center yesterday and I spent some time talking to a few students. A couple of students seemed to be impressed by all that was happening at Mt. Zion Human Services.  The only thing I have been able to think of tonight is that we are not even close to meeting the so many needs of the community.


I grew up in a very conservative Catholic household. While I continue to hold on to my Catholic upbringing, I have learned to pray and trust in the power of God far more in the last year than I have any other time in my life.  While I could attribute this increased trust in Christianity to mid-life crisis and the recent loss of my best friend, I believe that I have been led to Mt. Zion for a reason.  I pray that I have the strength, courage, and wisdom to make a difference.


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