It's high time for another installment of brief on-the-street interviews and snapshots from our friend Dijon of Souls of Society.
“I do drama therapy with children, using theater to help them access emotions or things in their life that has caused trauma. If they feel nervous about encountering a certain space, we might act out that fear and try to figure out what that fear is.”
What brings you joy?
“Food, sunshine, family, road trips, my dog, food again.”
What’s one of your favorite things about yourself?
“I love doing service-oriented work and working with people. Not being stuck at a desk, being outside. I have positive energy, I get along with most people, I have big ambitions. I’ve met a lot of goals and had a lot of opportunities.”
"I’m born and raised in the city. Never lived anywhere else."
What do you love about the Bay?
“The weather and the diversity. That there’s neighborhoods, and you don’t always feel like you’re in some huge city.”
You seem like a creative person.
“This is the third time I’ve shaved my head. I have a friend who has leukemia, who has three girls. In January, I shaved his head in the hospital and then I thought, 'I’m gonna shave mine, too.' Now he’s not the only one who looks like this. It’s nice to be able to give and be helpful.”
What do you feel like your gifts are?
“I feel like I’m good at making people feel comfortable and welcomed. I used to do loans, and I was really good at explaining things to people, not talking down to them. I had a learning disability, and I had a hard time in school.”
What was your disability?
“Dyslexia. I always had to take untimed tests, and get tutored. I was separated from my peers, in a way, and that doesn’t feel good.”
How to you think that affected your development?
“I think it afforded me the ability to be more compassionate and empathetic. I know it doesn’t feel good when you're made to feel less than, so I go out of my way to make sure people feel good.”
“My creative inspiration is internal. It’s something I feel compelled to do. Some friends always tell me I try to do too much, but I wouldn’t feel fulfilled doing anything less. My ideas just require more hands. You can only do so much by yourself, and then you have to get other people involved.”
How’d you get in touch with your inner voice? What gave you the fortitude to follow it?
“I’ve always been driven to do things people thought I couldn’t. When I was in the third grade, I decided I wanted to play basketball at UCLA, and people would say, ‘Oh, that’s a great goal, but what are you really going to do?’ I achieved that goal, but it wasn’t necessarily gratifying. After school, I played a bit overseas, but got hurt and had to embrace fate taking me in a different direction.
"After achieving my goal, but it not being what I thought it was going to be, I developed an aversion to being goal-oriented and disciplined in that way. I started going with the flow, and figured it would take me where I was supposed to go.”
“Now, I use my skill set to inspire youth. I was training kids for basketball, and then I started to tutor those kids, and I realized the kids I trained and tutored had the most success. My model became leveraging a kid's passion, to get them to achieve in all the other areas of life that would set them up for success.”
“I moved out here two years ago from Florida, to work for Treasure Island Sailing Center and teach disabled youths how to sail.”
What have you learned working with the kids?
“It’s really fun, because we don’t focus on what they can’t do, we focus on what they can do. We pair the kids up based on their strengths, and we treat them like everybody else. We tell them when they do make a mistake and they love it, because they're finally being treated like a normal kid.”
What do you love about sailing?
“I’ve been doing it since I was 10, and I feel like I’m in my element. It’s quiet, it stimulates all the senses. It works well for kids with ADD, because everyone is used to so much stimuli. It provides that, because you’ve gotta do all these things at once or you’re in the water. It feels like a trade fold that’s dwindling away.”