Saturday, July 19, 2014

Meeting my inspiration

Berkeley, CA -
There are people whom you meet just once, but who leave a huge impression in you. One such people is Reno Taini.

One of the highlights of my trip to the US is meeting up with him again. I met Reno some 12 years back in Bhutan. He was conducting a workshop for teachers in Punakha.

I was blown away by his zeal and energy that I invited him to come on my TV show "Q&A with Dorji Wangchuk". He talked about his works with troubled youth in the Bay area for which he has dedicated his entire life. He invented his famous wilderness program. He also alerted us that the violence among the urban youth in Bhutan (which we are seeing today) was coming and that we should be prepared for it. Unfortunately no one took notice of his words back then. If only…. 

Reno is responsible for my becoming a teacher now. He inspired me to dedicate some time for others - especially the youth; to make the abled ones fire towards their dreams and to work for those who have lost them.

He is an amazing guy. Although he has a PhD and got many offers, he decided to teach in a low-profile public school in Daly City near San Francisco and take care of the "difficult" kids in his town. Reno Taini was honoured by the State of California in 1982 as the State Teacher of the Year. And several times thereafter. He self-financed and created the much-acclaimed Wilderness School which is captured in a fascinating documentary - Reno's Kids (1987). His program inspired me to include it as a sub-plot in my feature film, Nazhoen Chharo (2008). He was also honoured by his alma mater, San Franciso State University to represent them. He helped hundreds of troubled youth to only get back their lives; some even won congressional medals for their services to the community. He was even called upon by the US State Department and the Department of Defence to help the Vietnam and Iraq war veterans. He appeared in countless radio and TV shows and of course in newspapers. He still continues to do so.  

He has again been called by the US federal government to do something about the mental issues that the American youth are facing.

Reno honoured by the State of California on many occasions
He has long retired from the school but not from his convictions and his works. He still talks, and only, about how much there is to do and how many people he could help. He almost goes into tears when I share the few things I did, which is no where near what he did. Still, as a good mentor, he gives me high-five for every small story of success, perseverance and dreams that I have restored for others.

All these years that I have known him, Reno kept inspiring me and encouraging me in whatever I did.

Grazie, Reno, for being an inspiration.

Reno invited me and my friends over for dinner at his farm and had a terrific surprise - a ride on the 
Dodge jeep used during World War II by General George Patton. Reno bought this thing and worked 
on it for 30 years to bring it back to life. What an honour to be riding on the same jeep! When I 
was a kid I saw the film 'Patton' with George Scott and ever since I remained deeply impressed
 by the Gen. Patton.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there
    Can I check with you if bhutan ships tea leaves out to Singapore?
    Thank you