Stop bullying with mysharebook

Generous, humorous, thoughtful -- all words that could be used to describe someone you care about.

Now, it’s the hope of one Kelowna mother that those words will be used in a handwritten form to stop bullying before it starts.

Karen Wolfe created mysharebook in 2009 as a way to capture the memories and words of friends in a tangible way that could be kept for the future.

Wolfe presented the idea to Kelowna Heritage Christian School and asked that students paste photos of themselves into the paperback books and then write a thoughtful message about one of their peers.

However in a digital age when there is a never-ending surplus of social media to post photos and messages online, is a paper-back book really that viable?

The former singer and performer says the media that is available online has so many mediums, funny videos, pictures, and interactive quotes that it becomes an information overload that can soon be forgotten.

“Something that is written down on paper has an eternal value, something that you can tangibly look at years and months to come,” she explains. “It just gives more of a deeper sense of value that you can get verses a text, an email or on Facebook.”

Wolfe also believes that mysharebook will enforce positive attitudes, as all writings must be encouraging.

Students in grades 2,7 and 10 participated in the mysharebook project and were given two months to collect as many enteries as possible.

Grade 2 student, Trinity Drouin, wrote the following positive message for her friend Alliah Burger.

“Ali, you are beautiful, charming, sweet, generous and you a great person.”

While Tekoa Semenuk, a grade 10 student, says he saw the project like an expanded yearbook where everyone can write about each other and keep memories.

“There are things you don’t see in yourself that other people see in you,” Semeniuk says when asked if any of the entries surprised him.

“And you think, 'Hey I never thought about it like that or I never saw that in myself'. I found that interesting.”

The positive messages exchanged between students is exactly the intent Wolfe hoped would come across with the mysharebooks.

“My friends have written in my books. They have written things that they have never said to my face,” Wolfe says. “Because they were able to communicate in written word how they saw me.”

Joanne Robideau, a seventh grade teacher at Heritage Christian school, says it was a little challenging getting the message of the mysharebook across to her class, but despite the questions everyone got the idea.

“In this kind of a context where a teacher is helping a class build an atmosphere of security, safety and trust with each other, and how do you do that by focusing on the positive.”

Robideau says she believes that by having students write positive messages to every one of their peers, they may have a chance of stopping bullying before it starts.

“Building a positive classroom atmosphere is very important, so classes see themselves like family and you treat each other well and I think the share book really enhances that.”

Wolfe donated 85 mysharebooks to the school as part of her pilot project. She has yet to receive funding for her project but hopes to present it to the Ministry of Education, and ask if they would consider adding it to the curriculum as part of a yearbook or class photo idea.

The books would cost about $10 and Wolfe says students would want one for each school year to collect entries and memories of that grade.

She also says mysharebook isn’t just for kids, adults can implement the book into their lives as well; using it at weddings for guests or even as they travel to collect memories of new friends.


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