By Rebecca Marchwinski, BTC Student
On May 6, Beyond the Classroom showed the film “For Once in My Life” accompanied by the Director of Mission Strategy from Goodwill Industries, Inc. as part of BTC’s People Power: Activism for Social Change course and film series.The film followed a group of people that work as part of Goodwill’s training program and are also members of the Spirit of Goodwill Band. Each member of the band happens to also have a disability,whether physical or mental. The documentary followed the band as they prepared for a grand performance in front of a thousand people and simultaneously delved into the pasts of some of themembers. Before and after the film, Goodwill’s Director of Mission Strategy Brad Turner-Little described some ofthe missions and goals of Goodwill and reactions of the film.
The movie was extremely surprising and impactful. Each one of these people worked so hard in the Goodwill factory and then practiced constantly to become proficient at their designated instrument.They got so much joy out of being a part of this group and often their behavior and attitudes changed after joining. It was amazing how passionate they were about music and how therapeutic it seemed to be. The music director was another major part of the movie and his patience and dedication were really inspiring. The fact that this was not his full time job and that he often went to another job after rehearsals just showed how selfless people can be.
Before the movie started, Brad told us to look out for a trend regarding male figures in the movie. As each person’s family life developed, it was obvious that most of the people in the movie did not have a strong father figure. Whether the father was never present or he left when the situationbecame too hard, the mother or another strong matriarchal figure was almost always the responsible one. This shed light onto the support system that often accompanies people with disabilities. While one member of their family was abandoning them, doctors were often telling the families that these individuals would never develop mentally past infancy and should be put in a home. When the diagnosis looked bleak, the community surrounding these people often turned away from them instead of turning in for support.