Last night it was my privilege and honour to be invited as a 'special guest' to the annual "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" event organized by the marvellous Mable Hastings of the Mansonville Youth Centre. Mable had seen the article about Weaverworld in one of the local papers and was sure that the kids would be interested in knowing more about it and about how one goes about writing a book.
During dinner the young people, aged 12 to 27, peppered me with questions. The older ones belong to FYI, a dedicated group of alumni who return to Mansonville from time to time to coach and mentor the younger kids in SADD. One girl at our table named Starr is currently working on her Phd in Chemistry, while the youngest, Kayla, is in Grade 7. Also at our table was Julia (a nurse), Tom (a budding artist), Jessie (whose leadership skills have yet to find a permanent home) and Simeon (who likes trucks and motorcycles). Like intrepid interviewers they wanted to know it all and I can't remember when I've had so much fun. Mind you, I'm pretty passionate about Weaverworld and its characters so it's not hard for me to talk about!
After dinner we (my husband Ted joined me for the evening) were treated to four amazingly clever and well-thought out presentations. The young people talked about the issues that concern them: drunk driving, drugs, unprotected sex, eating disorders, bullying, suicide and so on. They made us laugh and sometimes they moved us close to tears. When it was done we were treated to a video (with popcorn!) that showed photo clips of events and people involved with the SADD and FYI groups in Mansonville over the years. Many of the older ones have been involved with the group for over 20 years and keep coming back because they consider it their second family.
We want to thank Mable and all the wonderful kids who welcomed us so warmly and we hope to see them all again soon. These programs are always in need of financial support. For information please go to http://www.cabmn.org/about-cab.