”I got to be an arts teacher in a poor community in rural West Virginia called Gary. I spent seven weeks there. It was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life, and also one of the most difficult.
”It was my first time being a teacher, first time really being a leader for a group of undisciplined kids. Most came from broken families. They really just wanted to be loved and just didn’t know how to express that.
”The guy who ran this programme, Jack, had been doing this for about 15 years ago. He was my mentor and guide for those seven weeks. It got to the end and I was feeling down on myself, like I didn’t really reach out to one kid or anything, didn’t know if I’d made any difference. I wanted to give up.
”Jack and I had a talk and he told me this. I realised that these kids have a lot of dirt in their lives and personalities, but there’s that little bit of gold that’s shining in there and it’s waiting for someone to dig it up and root it out.
”Since then I’ve started to look at people differently. Everybody’s got a little bit of gold, even a schmuck like me. All it needs is a little bit of digging. That’s what I want to do with my life, and my art.”
Taken in Baltimore, USA during the SOTM World Tour.