I love the Western Justice Center.
They’re so organized there. Everyone there is so kind. This place is great.
From their website, their mission is to “increase the opportunity for peaceful conflict resolution and displace the power of violence in our society. [They] design, implement, evaluate and promote innovative methods of conflict prevention and resolution for children, communities, and courts.”
They held their annual Peer Mediation Invitational. And it was for students who were peer mediators.
The day began simply enough. We were offered breakfast. Then the students began to arrive and we helped facilitate registration/their breakfast.
Then, it was time to go over for the beginning of the day. One thing Western Justice Center did that I thought was really cool was to work with the Los Angeles County School for the Arts. There was a group there in a service learning class that was working on using art to help the community.
The group from the arts high school tried to start the day out on an energetic, light note. They did improv games revolving around peer mediation. They started with one we did at the Groundlings, and my stomach started tying in knots at the thought of doing that specific game again (3-headed expert – or whatever we called it).
However, the high schoolers seemed really into it! Good for them for doing something that boosts their confidence and ability to think on their feet. Really, bravo, arts school.
The student actors also made us get up and move a bit (while we pretend to eat a banana), just to try to wake everybody up. (I only mention this, ’cause I’m gonna bring it back at the end of the day.)
Two things were pretty interesting to me about the improv part. For one thing, the teacher asked, “How many people have seen improv live before?” And barely anyone raised their hands! I guess it’s maybe not that weird. But I think just because I went through a period where I was seeing so much improv that it’s weird to think people don’t go to shows. I sort of think all high school kids should have to take it to help with the life skills it works on. But, I digress.
Another thing I found interesting was when they started the game in which a team of actors work together to be an expert in something, the first subject the teacher came up with was movies. He said, “ask any questions about movies that you’ve ever wanted to know – how they’re made, etc.”
Not a single person raised his or her hands. Oh, Los Angeles – where everybody knows everything about the entertainment biz, and everybody’s so over it. I adore you, high school kids, who then had plenty of questions to ask when he changed the subject to the universe.
This is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.