10 days left… what else is new?

Currently sitting at Platform 302 in Hamilton, which is where I rent a hotdesk, waiting for some code to magically come to life, so I thought I would try to continue this daily blog trend. If I get into the habit now, daily on the trip should be no problem-o!

So nothing new on the trip since the last post, but I thought I’d mention some cool stuff from the last few months, since I haven’t really updated the blog unless I’m traveling! So far this year I’ve been involved in two absolutely cool, fantastic things – a few events with Start2Finish, and a play at Village Theatre Waterdown (Snow White).

DSCN3542Let’s chat about Start2Finish first… I started with the Reading and Running club at Bennetto Elementary School in Hamilton last year at the beginning of the school year (taking a month off to hit up Europe), and it’s just about to come to an end. Only one more “club” this Tuesday, then we have the 5k race on the 31st at York University.

Basically the program is called Start2Finish and it’s Canada wide with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. Start2Finish will get involved in schools where there are underprivileged kids and begin by doing things like donating backpacks full of school supplies every year to be distributed to these kids. That’s kind of opening the door… eventually, they try to get into the school to open up a Reading and Running program!

The Reading and Running program meets at the school weekly with a bunch of kids (20 – 60 depending on the school) selected by the teachers for about 2 hours. We start off with some physical exercise, running around the gym, outside if we can with the end goal of each kid running 5k at the end of the year.

The other half of the time we spend reading – some kids can read pretty well, some kids can barely read at all. They’re currently doing some studies to link the physical aspect of the program to an increased ability to focus on the reading aspect, but it makes sense. We also give the kids a snack, teach them a “word of the day”, and generally try to be a positive adult influence in their life.

It’s a fantastic program, I’m very proud to be a part of it.

DSCN3532Through my volunteering with Start2Finish I was introduced to their Run4Change program as well, which is a huge run that they do once a year to raise funds for all their other initiatives. This year we had 6000 kids out to Bayfront Park in Hamilton to run 5k, eat some pizza and listen to some music. It was a lot of fun, and they asked if I’d be the event manager. So just off of Snow White, I wound up with another headset running around (or driving around on a golf cart) for the day. It was a pretty amazing event, and I even managed to drag my friends Briana and Kevin out to volunteer at the event with me (see if they ever say yes to me again – it was a pretty intense day :p).

So that’s the basics of Start2Finish… I was also involved in the backpack packing program, I volunteered at their yearly gala (pretty awesome), and I’m also helping out with one other school for the last few weeks of the program. So lots of involvement there!

snowwhiteSnow White… awesome experience. I had a great time working with a young cast – 12 kids between the ages of 8 – 16, all amazing kids who totally blew me away at their professionalism on stage. Started there in February I think with three rehearsals a week, had a lot of fun getting to know the cast and crew, and working with some of the new tech that AJ bought! We got ourselves a new lighting board and some fancy new lights, so I had a very good time playing around with all that fun stuff.

12 performances (I think), including a school show. Lots of audience interaction, I recorded an entertaining “hello sit down turn your stuff off” kind of greeting, and yeah… it wound up being a lot of fun. Our Post Production meeting is actually tonight, so that’s kind of the final “wrap up” to the play, which is always a little depressing (though not nearly as depressing as seeing the awesome set we had ripped down!

Anyway, those have been the two major things I’ve been working on this year, both pretty awesome. Lots of fun to work with talented people who aren’t there because they have to be, but because they genuinely want to help (and have fun)

That’s it for now – my code is done, so I have to go and see if it’s happy now. Goodbye! See you tomorrow…?