This is an inspiring story about the power of connection and community. Jason is a student, Andrea a teacher, at the Action Center, a satellite of PACC Adult Education Centre. The Action Centre is a community centre for physically disabled adults. The centre provides programs to socialize, stimulate and educate their clients.
When the pandemic hit, in-person classes became online classes. Not everyone was comfortable with attending virtual classes, including Jason. Yet, he quickly changed his mind once he attended the first class. Andrea tells us about Jason’s transformation as he started attending online classes.
“Jason, aka JaSonic Hedgehog aka DJ Sonic”
by Andrea Pinto
“With love and joy, a good teacher guides, encourages, and influences from the sidelines, always allowing the student to be the leader of his or her own life.”
When classes began in September 2020, Jason contacted me by email. He had been isolating at home with his father for six months, since March, and he informed me that he would not be seeing me until the pandemic was over. He explained that he could not take the chance of physically coming into our centre, placing his dad at risk, citing his father’s age. Jason felt fearful, worried, frustrated, and he admitted that he often felt quite depressed. In October all classes went online, and I encouraged Jason to try a Zoom class. He said he felt really depressed “because of the pandemic” and wasn’t interested, but was willing to attend one class just to see. After that one class, Jason decided to join not just that one course, but every single course that I was offering, all nine of them!!
Jason’s love of music
Jason loves playing music. He had been my DJ for Zumba class when we were physically present at the center. With the simplicity of using Zoom share-screen, Jason found that, from the comfort of his home, he could continue providing music for our online Zumba class, as well as Exercise-to-Music class. I also suggested that he could provide music during break-time for all 9 courses. Jason rose to the occasion and noticeably began to shine: showing up bright and chipper for every class, offering an impressive diversity of music, and even adding new technology, both software and hardware, so that the musical experience would be even more beneficial for him as well as for all the others. Within a week of being online, Jason was a different person, happy, upbeat, laughing, joking, full of life and positivity.
Learning new technologies
Jason learned to use Zoom technology, as well as new software technology for music. As he practiced more and more, he became more proficient, to the benefit and enjoyment of all. Best of all to my great delight, Jason’s self-confidence and self-esteem blossomed. Which in turn led to his asking someone in the class to be his girlfriend... yes online!! This sweet event was witnessed and happily applauded by his classmates.
The pandemic was still present, yet Jason was living in a mental space filled with possibility. With that stance came feeling good about self, and feeling good about life, with its accompanying positivity, optimism, and a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness.
Jason expands his horizons
Jason then began his own personal Zoom meetings for online acquaintances and friends and temporarily experimented with his own personal online DJ broadcasting, affiliated with an online radio station, where people from different parts of North America joined to listen. He was thrilled at the possibility of offering the music of his own choosing. A bonus was the pride he felt upon receiving positive feedback.
With guidance, encouragement and influence, Jason became consciously aware of his awesome inner strength, and he became more and more confident at understanding and using this strength to his advantage, which gave Jason a greater enjoyment of his own life.
Jason would tell you that if he can do it, so can you, whether you are student, teacher, administrator, “...or whatever, lol”.
Bravo, bravo, Jason!! I am so incredibly in awe of wonderful you!!
The Action Centre