ici Radio - Canada - Who Is NOBODY?

This is something I did in grade 5. Now I'm 23 years old. It's one of my favourite memories from elementary school. NOBODY represents how students have put others first.— Marisa Da Re, Student Teacher YRDSB

Literacy program Who Is NOBODY?™ is highlighted on CBC 89.9 FM (Runs 12:30)

CBC’s Francophone radio show, hosted by Marjorie April

Y a pas deux matins pareils – Marjorie April

Who Is NOBODY? Teacher & Student Teacher (who is also a past participant!) are interviewed on CBC’s Francophone radio show, hosted by Marjorie April

CBC’s Francophone radio show, hosted by Marjorie April

Y a pas deux matins pareils – Marjorie April

Who Is NOBODY? Teacher & Student Teacher (who is also a past participant!) are interviewed on CBC’s Francophone radio show, hosted by Marjorie April

Audio at a Glance

School: Lester B. Pearson Public School
School Board: York Region District School Board
Grade: 7
Teacher: Brigid Duggan
Student Teacher: Marisa Da Re (who also participated in Who Is NOBODY? as a student!)
Focus: Literacy Program Who Is NOBODY?

Marjorie April:
This week we’ve been talking about back to school. In particular, we’ve been talking about the anxiety and stress amongst parents and children. Children in particular need to have friends and feel accepted and also have confidence in their teacher.

A teacher from Toronto, named Kelly Clark, developed a literacy program back in 2002 that has made the tour of the planet. She realized that no matter where children are from, no matter their socio-economic situation, no matter their age… they need to develop self-esteem. She realized that if children developed their self-esteem it could help solve any problem they’re facing. It’s a concept that gave her the idea to create a program called Who Is NOBODY? that’s now in 80 school boards and 5 countries, including England, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Canada and the United States.

This Literacy program is called Who Is NOBODY? and the French program is called Qui est Personne? Nobody is a doll that 43 thousand children have brought home since 2002. To talk about this in more detail, I have Brigid Duggan who is a grade seven French immersion teacher from Lester B. Pearson P.S. in Aurora (YRDSB).

Brigid Duggan:
Hello. Nice to meet you.

Marjorie April:
I know you’re not alone in the studio today. We’ll speak with them later. You’ve used the Who Is NOBODY? Literacy program since 2004. He is in the studio with us today. Tell us how you use this literacy program.

Brigid Duggan:
The program works extremely well. I started Who Is NOBODY? in 2004 in York Region. I actually was the first teacher to pilot it in York Region.

The first step is that students choose a project based on their interests. They either decide to help animals, people or the environment… or all three. Each student thinks of an idea by using the Who Is NOBODY? resources. For example, some girls in my class wanted to raise money for orphans in Africa so they made bracelets. With the money they raised, they donated it to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. I had some boys in my class that wrote letters to soldiers in Afghanistan. Other girls cut their hair and donated it to Angel Wish to make wigs for people living with cancer. The idea is that they can do anything they want.

Marjorie April:
Nobody is a blue doll that has no gender, no ethnicity.

Brigid Duggan:
At the beginning of the year, I introduce Nobody to the class and the idea is that each student will take on an initiative and by the end of the year, Nobody becomes a Somebody. They will make a difference in the world.

Marjorie April:
I am looking at Nobody, I see Nobody wearing a hat, a hockey glove, I see Canadian Tire money attached to Nobody, I see a plastic shovel attached to Nobody among other things. What does this all mean?

Brigid Duggan:
Each object attached to Nobody represents a unique initiative students undertook during the school year. For example,  the Canadian Tire money attached to Nobody represents how a girl in my class collected Canadian Tire money and donated it to young mothers in need of baby supplies. I have had other students take the Nobody doll with them for March break and pick up garbage and plastic from the beaches to save turtles and other sea life.

Marjorie April:
You are with “Nobody” but also you’re with Marisa today. You have recently been reunited I will let you introduce her.

Brigid Duggan:
Marisa was in my class years ago when I used to teach grade five. She participated in the Who Is NOBODY? Literacy program. Ironically, she is my student teacher this year from Nippising Univeristy. When we reunited before school started, the first thing that came out of her mouth was, “Mme. Duggan are you still doing the Nobody program?”

Marjorie April:
So Marisa, this Nobody program really had a profound effect on you when you were young? In what ways did it impact you? How did it have such an impact that it’s the first thing you asked about when you saw your old teacher again?

Marisa Da Re:
This is a program that had a profound effect on me when I was young but also as an adult. It also had an impact on me wanting to become a teacher. It was such a fun project to be involved in when I was young. Kids have so much fun being a part of the Who Is NOBODY? Literacy Program. You get to bring the doll home and make a positive change in the world. You can do something big or something small. You learn how to have empathy and respect for others. This is something that each school should do.

Marjorie April:
Do you think this program had an impact on your choice of careers?

Marisa Da Re:
Yes absolutely. This is something that I did in grade five. Now I’m 23 years old. I often think about this project. This was one of my favourite memories from elementary school. Now as an adult, I can see the impact that it had. Nobody represents so much more than just a doll, it represents that students don’t think of themselves, they put others first.

Marjorie April:
And you Brigid, what do you think?

Brigid Duggan:
I see the difference. We have 2 student teachers at our school this year. Both of them participated in the Who Is NOBODY? Program when they were in grade five. I can see the impact now. When I started with this literacy program, I wasn’t sure what type of impact it had on the students. At the time, I loved the program and my students loved being involved in it. But I didn’t know long term, what type of impact it had on them. Now I can see that it really has a positive impact after reconnecting with my two former students years later who are both student teachers at Lester B. Pearson this year.

Marjorie April:
It’s a big time commitment for teachers to be involved in this literacy program. Am I correct?

Brigid Duggan:
Do you know what? It’s so easy to implement this program. Once you introduce the program via a short DVD lesson, the students are inspired by the program. This year, I’m trying something new. Kelly Clark has also invented 2 other programs. She developed a pink doll that is against bullying and a green doll that is for environmental initiatives. This year, I am responsible for the Eco-team. We’re doing a school-wide eco-initiative. Each class will do their own initiative for the environment with our Who Is GREEN? kit.

Marjorie April:
If I understand correctly the Green Nobody doll is for eco-initiatives for the environment. Will you implement this in your class when you become a teacher Marisa?

Marisa Da Re:
I think it’s an awesome idea. I’m looking forward to implementing it this year with Mme. Duggan.

Marjorie April:
It’s marvelous to see how you as teachers plant the seeds in your students. You can see the impact on their lives. You can see the tree blooming as Marisa has, who is now becoming a teacher. If we have any teachers or principals/vice-principals who are listening, how do they get involved?

Brigid Duggan:
All they have to do is visit: www.whoisnobody.com or in French Qui est PERSONNE? en Francais.

Marjorie April:
Thank you so much. We’ll take a picture of the Nobody doll and put it on our website. We can see all of the great things that are happening in our communities thanks to the Who Is NOBODY? Program. Many great things are happening as a result of the Nobody program and students are putting others first. Thanks for being with us Brigid Duggan from Lester B. Pearson in Aurora who is accompanied by her student teacher Marisa Da Re. Thanks to you both for coming to speak with us today, from YRDSB.

CBC aired this Who Is NOBODY? segment on Y a pas deux matins pareils with Marjorie April on September 6th, 2019.

We took tons of behind-the-scenes photos while hanging out with NOBODY-turned-SOMEBODY at CBC. Check them out here!

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