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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Movies at the juvie

I volunteered for my first movie night at the juvenile dentention center tonight. I didn't know what to expect, so I was a little nervous. In the end, it reminded me a lot of the psych hospital, in that it seems like this big deal, but then the kids act normal, just like kids, and make you forget what they did to get in there. Not that I knew. We weren't allowed to talk about it with them.

It was wonderfully fun. The volunteers did an introductory game for the girls, where we each told two truths and one lie, and the girls had to guess which was the lie. That was almost the most animated part of the evening. They absolutely loved it. And for some reason, they wanted to know how old we all were, then kept insisting that none of us were really as old as we claimed.

Then we watched part of Akeelah and the Bee, and did an art project involving scrabble letters and posters. It reminded me so much of the groups I'd led in the hospital, but more fun. There were no reprimands because they were talking loudly (the professor in charge actually encourages that), no stern reminders about how they needed to focus on the task at hand. We were just there to have fun with the girls and take their minds off their grim lives for three hours. And that, in itself, I suppose, is pretty therapeutic.

It was such an amazing environment to foster. The first time I met most of the volunteers was last week at a training, and they seemed nice, but I was still shy. The event made me feel more comfortable with everyone, so I feel a bond with them already. It is a unique and wonderful experience to be with woman who are happy and supportive and love what they're doing. It's energizing, and makes me excited about the path I've chosen.

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