Booker Mitchell’s Service Reflection for 2014-15

Booker Travels is a website and webisode series that explores different cultures, using skateboarding, surfing, art, music, and food as a means to meet and communicate with locals. Some of the goals of the show are to encourage kids to explore the world around them and to show the energy and beauty of the places that we visit. This year we went on two major trips; Barbados and Puerto Rico. As I have begun to work more behind the scenes on the project, both filming and helping with production and direction, these trips were a little bit different from those done in the past. Yet, from eating freshly caught fish with roasted breadfruit with locals practicing voodoo rituals in Barbados to browsing a family’s private salsa record collection in Puerto Rico, we captured many unique cultural experiences through the perspective of locals.

While I am very proud of the success of these trips, the most rewarding and special project that I did this year was for Mount Sinai. Since December, Booker Travels has been used as a part of the therapy for children with terminal illnesses. The children, who have restricted or limited time outdoors, are watching episodes weekly from their rooms at the hospital to learn about the different locations that we have been to. To begin this project I visited the hospital’s media room and answered questions that the children and nurses had for a private 30 minute interview that was played on the TVs in the hospital rooms. To know that kids in troubling and scary circumstances are able to learn and explore the world through episodes that I have helped to create is a really amazing thing, and I look forward to continuing working in collaboration with Mount Sinai.

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