Avid deejay meets like-minded student
Passport Mentoring initiative provides meaningful opportunity for volunteer
Friday October 12, 2012 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
Jim Landriault might as well as have electric guitar riffs pumping through his veins, he loves his job as a disc jockey (deejay) so much. But, as he recently discovered, there could be something even better than the job itself, and that’s showing the ropes to someone just as excited about the work.
Landriault recently had a chance to do just that when Passport Mentoring co-ordinator Penny Lauzon contacted him to ask if he would be willing to meet with a student interested to learn more about deejaying.
Lauzon had met with student Vincent Sylvestre through the Passport Mentoring initiative, which creates opportunities for students across Ontario as they think about their life after high school.
The intent of the program is to introduce students aged 14 to 21, who have an intellectual disability, to mentors who share the same interests or who hold roles that the students wish to explore.
Lauzon learned while Sylvestre had a few interests, he was especially keen to learn more about deejaying. After riffling through the Yellow Pages, she found the name of Landriault’s company, Polar Sound D.J Services serving Cornwall and area, and decided to make a cold call.
Landriault says he was immediately interested when he got the invitation, especially, he says, to show Sylvestre the “real” side of the entertainment industry.
“When people look at the entertainment industry, they see party hearty and they see fun and games, and, you know what, the business is really not like that,” says Landriault, who has been the field for 30 years, now on a part-time basis.
He adds he couldn’t believe how he much he looked forward to meeting Sylvestre.
Lauzon describes how things went the first time the two met.
“It was a really great connection between the student and Mr. Landriault, mostly because the student has this very big interest and was asking questions about everything, and all at the same time,” she says.
“You could tell Mr. Landriault really enjoyed that interest and he was very happy to share his experience,” she adds, noting one can always feel when someone else has a genuine passion for a similar interest.
Sylvestre went on to meet with Landriault a few times, helping him set up at a few venues and then, one evening, receiving the ultimate opportunity.
Landriault had invited Sylvestre to help him with a wedding, which he did, hauling in equipment and putting it together, but never expecting to be given the chance to actually mix some music, says Lauzon.
That’s just what happened, though.
After about an hour of showing him more of the ins and outs of the job, Landriault stood up during the wedding dance, handed Sylvestre the headphones and said, “you take over.”
Then he walked away.
The glow of absolute delight in the student’s eyes as he did so struck him right to the core and stayed with him for weeks, Landriault says.
It was the highlight of the whole experience for him, noting he finds it hard to describe what happened.
Lauzon says she hopes Landriault’s experience will inspire others to consider mentoring students interested to learn more about their field of work.
Feel free to comment by e-mailing michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.
* Pictured above, student Vincent Sylvestre and Polar Sound assistant Kris Young.