Fri Mar 22 2013 Byline: Thomas Miller Source: Rocky View Publishing Mitch Dorge returned to Airdrie on March 12 with a message aimed at those who pass judgment. The Crash Test Dummies drummer tours the country speaking to students of all ages promoting this message, along with encouraging young people to play music and informing them on how drugs and alcohol can impede their success. Dorge brought several students in front of the crowd to help him demonstrate difficulties people with disabilities might have. For instance he had some students try on clothes without the use of their thumbs. St. Martin de Porres Grade 11 student Douglas Fixter was one of the young people who participated in Dorge’s presentation. Fixter had to place two large lemon slices in his mouth to simulate the difficulties someone with cerebral palsy would have trying to speak. Like many kids, Fixter says he was picked on when he was younger so the laughter of the crowd didn’t bother him when he attempted to talk. In fact, he took some valuable lessons away from the presentation. “Take time to speak with people and don’t judge them right away,” said Fixter of what he learned from Dorge’s presentation. “I’ve been raised like that but this has given me another viewpoint of it.” Dorge said another important facet of his presentation is that we should care more about our actions as opposed to the credit we receive for them. “No matter what the problem is that we’re trying to tackle, whether it be drinking and driving, a drug issue, world hunger, the local food bank, whatever,” he said. “We become very discouraged as human beings because our efforts aren’t seen on a grand scale. “We need to see some large results, large payoff.” He listed experiences from his life where just doing something small like taking the time to listen to someone’s problems had a much bigger impact than he knew at the time. Instances like that made him realize the importance of inclusion. “Everybody needs to be included regardless of our perception of who they are or what they are,” continued Dorge. “Realizing that every effort that you make, on any level . every effort you make is recognized and makes a difference. “I personally believe that each and every kid here is intelligent, they know the right choices, whether they make them or not is another story. I’m just trying to leave them with the thought that I know that you can change the world given the opportunity.” He added that it’s not just a select few who can do so, either. He said that he became a successful drummer not simply because he was more talented than others.
Feb 2, 2013 New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal MIRAMICHI – He won’t be here as one of the Crash Test Dummies, but the band’s former drummer Mitch Dorge will be educating the minds of youth in the area when he visits six of the Miramichi region’s schools. Dorge, who is partnered with The Co-operators insurance group, will be talking to youth in both middle and high schools about a number of key issues with regards to substance abuse awareness. The District 6 RCMP Blackville office will be partnering with The Co-operators group to bring Dorge to the area. Shelley Donahue, community programs officer with District 6 RCMP, said nationally Canadian youth are a “top priority for the RCMP,” who continuously look to educate younger citizens on the impact of drugs and alcohol. Dorge will be doing just that with youth from around the area. During his motivational speech, he will show evidence of the impact of drugs and alcohol by showing a healthy brain versus a brain with substance abuse, to sharing a story about impaired driving. He will also discuss the overall aspects of maintaining a positive attitude when it comes to choices people may face about substance abuse. “We’re always looking at creative ways of getting information out there about drugs and alcohol, and how serious it is and the consequences of experimenting or becoming involved in the drug culture,” Donahue said. “And we just thought if we got somebody that the kids could relate to or may of heard of or somebody that’s different, motivational, and to come and speak, it may keep their attention or catch their eye.” Donahue, who also works with Central New Brunswick Academy, said Dorge was scheduled to be one of the guest speakers at the school on Feb. 7 during a wellness day. After accepting, the former drummer suggested visiting a few schools within the area during his time in the province’s northern community. Donahue then picked the schools within the District 6 jurisdiction and the six-school tour unfolded from there. The six schools will consist of James M. Hill Memorial High School, Blackville School, North and South Esk elementary and high schools, Esgenoopetitj School and Central New Brunswick Academy. Donahue said while she hasn’t personally seen Dorge in action during his motivational talk, she has heard a number of positive experiences others have taken from his presentations. “I’ve heard he’s amazing,” said Donahue. “He’s very interactive, he has a lot of props, he gets the kids
May 8th, 2013 To Whom It May Concern; Our school community recently hosted an In Your Face and Interactive Presentation by Mitch Dorge to our entire school community of grade nines through to twelve. This opportunity was made available to our student body largely in part to the initiative and partnership with the Co-operators Business Organization. The presentation claims to take an honest and intense look at responsible choices and attempts to engage young adults between 12 and 18 throughout a two-hour presentation to set goals for themselves and to make choices that will help them get there. If that was the learning goal, than the data received back from our students and staff was certainly indicative that Mitch hit the target. Students’ emotional responses and focus were “tuned in” throughout the entire presentation. Moreover, the students were noted as having many productive conversations following the presentation, both with their peers and with their teachers. Student voice gathered through school surveys and focus meetings also supported the fact that our students were moved by the assembly, not just entertained, but frankly challenged to think about things differently than they have before. Moreover, it was refreshing to share Mitch’s musical passion and humour, a good role model for our students when we have typically had many athletically profiled speakers. No doubt, this certainly reached many students. Thus, if the concentration on the student’s faces or the laughter of the teachers was any indication of Mitch’s effectiveness, then our school community would certainly recommend other schools consider this presentation to their own community. It can fit nicely with many proactive and strength-based and character education initiatives that schools are facilitating to build community, culture and caring. Ultimately, the themes and big ideas that stick out in the presentation make for good anchor points in conversations with our young people, and they are more likely to engage in this because of the thought-provoking, challenging and invitational manner in which Mitch delivers his message. Yours in learning, Robert Della Croce Vice-Principal Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School Guelph, Ontario