By Adam Brazeau CORNWALL, Ontario – Schoolyard bullies are no match for over 50 young authors with a story to tell.
The Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Cornwall/SDG is publishing its second anti-bully book written by members of their six after-school programs.
The book is part of BGC's 'Doing the Write Thing' literacy initiative designed by Cornwall staff to help youth develop skills in creative writing, teamwork, and self-expression.
For 10-year-old Leah Carrier being a first time author was a liberating experience.
"I've been bullied in my life so it helped to write about it," said Carrier. "I hope it helps other kids."
She teamed up with dozens of fellow scribblers, ranging from grades one to six, at the BGC 506 Clubhouse on Saturday, Feb. 1 to finalize the book's title and cover. After some heavy deliberation, a name for their masterpiece emerged: 'Confessions of the Drama Bully.'
This congregation of budding writers was the first time they all met since the book was written in non-traditional linear fashion. Each after-school writing team worked on a chapter for three weeks before sending it to the next location until all six chapters were complete.
The 'wrap-up' event allowed all the kids to hear their own story for the very first time.
"It was fun because I love writing and drawing," said 10-year-old scribe Mackenzie Mondoux.
He and Carrier have been involved with BGC for a few years and it's still a favourite hangout.
"I love coming here because it's fun. I meet new people, play sports, and everyone is very nice," he said.
Jacquie Richards, BGC executive director, said the event was a great way to spread awareness for 'Pink Shirt Day' on Feb. 26. An annual anti-bullying event held on the last Wednesday of February across Canada.
"It's the funds that we raise at events like Pink Shirt Day that allow us to run our anti-bullying programs," said Richards.
BGC plans on "painting Cornwall pink" with the anti-bully fashion statement this month. Baxtrom’s Your Independant Grocer and Scotiabank have the pink shirts available for $10. All proceeds go to the local BGC chapter.
The Rotary Club of Cornwall donated $1,000 to help get the colourful story Confessions of the Drama Bully in black and white. Members Linda Eamer and Lee Cassidy were blown away with the amount of enthusiasm the new authors had for thinking, talking and writing about bullying.
"This book is a great way to promote literacy, which is important to us," said Cassidy.
Eamer saw the book as a new chapter for the area's list of seasoned novelists.
"Who knows where it can lead to for some of these young writers," she said. Amber Wishart, BGC's Doing the Write Thing facilitator, was glad to show off all the hard work her "anti-bullying squad" put into the writing process.
"I hope everyone gets a chance to read it," said Wishart. "These are some of the best kids I've ever worked with."
The 2013 and 2014 editions of Doing the Write Thing will be available for sale at Echo Trends later this month.
To find out more about the new book or Pink Shirt Day, visit www.bgccornwallsdg.com.