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The Shine Book: KMb in a youth-run, youth-led initiative

Everyone interprets and presents knowledge mobilization differently. Join us as we explore the journey of KMb in a youth-led, youth-run project at Bell High School in Ottawa, Ontario. This project was funded by the Dare to Dream program, an initiative of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. Dare to Dream encourages young people to create and implement mental health awareness initiatives in their schools and communities.

The idea for Bell High School’s ‘Who Are You?’ project started in an all-girls physical education class. The students saw the need to create an anti-bullying campaign that didn’t target the instigator but instead addressed the elements of hate and self-consciousness within all of us. The project focused on self-awareness and reflection. With the help of their dedicated mentor and teacher, Patty Keeble, the girls generated carefully crafted workshops and videos to promote self-awareness in their school. Initially, the group planned to share their story through their website, but found a knowledge mobilization strategy that resonated better with their group dynamic and representation.

The idea

Throughout the course of the project, the group of young women became closer, sharing jokes and laughs. One of their favorite jokes stemmed from the movie Mean Girls. They’d constantly quote the famous comedy, knowing each and every one of them would get the reference. In the movie, a group of bullies develop a book called The Burn Book. The bullies use the book to write awful comments about the girls in their school.

The Burn Book was brought up during a lunchtime conversation between these Ottawa students. The young women explored the idea of creating a book that empowered and showcased their talents and accomplishments – the opposite of The Burn Book – and The Shine Book was born. The Shine Book was sparked from light-hearted conversations, but the book explores issues and daily challenges that are significant, serious and important to talk about. Several copies of the book were printed and are currently being displayed in various local child and youth mental health agencies.

How is KMb different in youth-run, youth led projects?

There’s a lot we can learn from this story. Patty Keeble, teacher and program mentor, shared what she saw as the key elements to knowledge mobilization in this unique setting:

  • Spontaneity was integral to this youth-engaged initiative. Patty used what she calls the butterfly net approach as an adult ally to the group. This approach fostered brainstorming and idea sharing at every stage of the project, while ensuring that the group didn’t lose sight of their end goal by bringing them back in. While it’s crucial to have a KMb plan, great ideas like The Shine Book often stem from spontaneity.
  • Harboring safe environments for young people to share opinions helped the ‘Who Are You?’ group share stories, ideas and lots of laughs. “Once they know there’s a safe place to fall, teamwork and collaboration shine through,” says Patty. With time, the young women were able to come together and work well as an efficient team.
  • Creativity was essential in the ‘Who Are You?’ project. The girls felt comfortable and they fostered a shared confidence that they will always remember – the true meaning of comradeship.

Student Makayla Statham writes, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. We thrived on this quote; being able to work off each other's strengths made our successes as a group even more meaningful.”

The Shine Book is a great example of how young people have adapted knowledge mobilization to meet their needs and interests.

Interested in learning more about The Shine Book and this Dare to Dream project? Contact us!