Will Moser has an affinity for history — he can recite exact dates and details from numerous events that make up our country’s legacy, especially when it comes to World War I and II. So when Will decided to participate in Community Living Ontario’s Passport Mentoring Initiative, it was easy to determine his area of interest.
“We help high school students who have intellectual disabilities explore their interests so that they’re able to make decisions about life after high school,” explains Jo-Anne Orton, a Passport Mentoring Coordinator with Community Living Ontario. The Passport Mentoring Initiative is funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and matches students with a mentor who can help them learn more about their area of interest and help them explore ideas for their future.
Almost immediately after Will was referred to Jo-Anne, she came across the Edinburgh Museum and its head curator, Anne Unyi, who was more than happy to become Will’s mentor.
“Will was really interested in the archival and research aspect of it,” explains Anne. “We have binders of soldiers who went off to serve during World War I, so we were looking for specific information on those men, and Will transcribed all of that for us.”
Anne also taught Will how to go through old newspapers to search for articles about the war, along with letters written home by soldiers, and annotate the important information from them. Anne says that mentoring Will was not only easy, but gratifying because of their shared passion.
“Just to have someone with so much passion and wanting to learn, someone that shares that love of what you do,” explains Anne, “And to be able to help him develop his passion even more, it’s so rewarding.”
For Will, the mentorship experience has been just as rewarding.
“My favourite part was going through the archive files and doing all the research itself,” he says. “I just found it so fascinating.”
The Passport Mentoring experience has not only reconfirmed Will’s love for history, but it’s actually helped him decide what he’d like to do after high school — a life-changing result.
“Anne has taught me very well,” says Will. “Thanks to her and my experience with Passport Mentoring, I’ve actually decided to pursue a career as a museum curator.”