The Rotary Club of Arnprior has honoured the founder of the highly successful ‘Who is Nobody’ educational and self-esteem program with one of the organization’s most prestigious awards.
Kelly Clark traveled to Arnprior June 18 from Toronto to receive a Paul Harris award at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.She is founder and creator of a “phenomenal learning, mentoring and character building program,” said Arnprior Rotary past president Dave Palmer in introducing her to both St. Joe’s and Walter Zadow students, graduates for the ‘Nobody’ program, who attended the ceremony.
The two schools are two of at least six in the area that have embraced the program (A.J. Charbonneau and McNab also have been involved).
Clark said she created the program after being frustrated by seeing so many of her students engaging in superficial and sometimes cruel acts as they tried to fit in with the perceived ‘with it’ groups.
“I wanted a program that had students looking inside themselves and others and at the tangible things in the world … rather than bullying someone in the hope that someone else might like them,” she added.
Her program also promotes interpersonal relationships, rather than artificial communication on the Internet.
Clark said the ‘Who is Nobody’ program, which turns a Nobody into a Somebody with acts of kindness and generosity, sprung out of those concerns. The program teaches kindness is “earned and lasting and you can build on it,” she explained. “It’s always better to build someone up than tear someone down.”
Clark has voluntarily dedicated her life "to see that this incredible, charitable program continues to provide valuable leadership, kindness, peace, goodwill and benevolence towards others. Her love of education and improving the lives of others is amply shown through the WIN program— Dave Palmer, Arnprior Rotary Club
She said students across the province and much further have taken to the program and now she helps administer it full-time.
Palmer said he heard about the program from a sister teaching in North Gower. With his urging, the Rotary Club helped introduce it in the Arnprior schools.
It is growing rapidly, he said, noting it is now in 60 Ottawa area schools.
Palmer said it fits in well with Rotary’s mission of service and promotion of literacy.
“We’re proud of our role in bringing this to the fore,” he told the students.
In accepting the award, Clark thanked the Rotary Club and local teachers for believing in the program. But it is you students who have “made it come alive,” she told them.
ACTS OF KINDNESS
She urged the students to continue with their acts of kindness this summer when they are on holiday or at camp.
“Make a conscious decision to focus on the positive in everyone you meet,” she added.
“It will open many doors for you,” Clark said. “Always remember it’s what’s inside that makes you a somebody.”
Arnprior Rotarians Joyce Dawson and Leo Hughes also attended the ceremony, which saw Clark presented with flowers and a gift, a Arnprior-opoly game as a keepsake to remind her of the town where her program is so popular.
Clark said she was honoured with the award, as both her father and grandfather were long-time Rotarians.
In his nomination of Clark for the Paul Harris Award, Palmer said she exemplifies “service above self.”
“Through the creativity of Who is Nobody, this has been accomplished at astounding levels and grows each year. One only has to see the sincerity and dedicated concern Kelly has demonstrated in the creation of her not-for-profit organization,” he said.
Palmer pointed out that Who is Nobody (WIN) has been introduced to thousands of children (45,000 at last count), teachers and others with its concept of encouragement, mentoring and helpfulness. WIN promotes teamwork, literacy and sharing through the efforts of groups, especially students and teachers in a classroom setting to work both individually and as a team to take ‘nobody’ and turn them into a somebody, “a truly wonderful concept that brings the spirit of acceptance and understanding to all,” he said.
“In the world of education, no matter how hard technology has tried over many years, it has never come close to the replacement of a good teacher. Technology while both exciting and supportive cannot do what is needed by devoted and sincere unity and cooperation of people working together to reach goals,” he added.
Palmer said that Who is Nobody, through its unique attributes, is a highly charged activity of learning, sharing and kindness that when used really imaginatively by both student and teacher alike brings the kind of character building and maturity that reflects the goals and objectives of Rotary, as it lends credence to a supportive, caring, benevolent and charitable society.
Who is Nobody uses the individual strengths of each person to build character and completeness, he added. The skills sets of verbal and oral communication are built upon through improving literacy both written and oral skills, understanding each other and the benefits of charity and acts of kindness.
Make a conscious decision to focus on the positive in everyone you meet— Kelly Clark
Over a relatively short period of time, students apply cohesiveness and team-work skills to create a unique and important ‘Somebody’, Palmer said.
“Students together learn to gather and then use their talents, strengths and capabilities to conquer fears, assist each other to overcome problems, do good things in their community and prove there is no limit to the educational value of WIN.”
He noted that Clark has voluntarily dedicated her life “to see that this incredible, charitable program continues to provide valuable leadership, kindness, peace, goodwill and benevolence towards others. Her love of education and improving the lives of others is amply shown through the WIN program.”
The program has spread across Canada and into the U.S., England, Australia and Saudi Arabia, he noted.
“It has brought better understanding of the values of working together to extol the virtues of sharing and caring and for these many reasons all which exemplify the four-way-test many times over, it makes Kelly an outstanding example of what it means to commit to ‘Service above Self’.”
This article was published in the Renfrew Mercury on July 9th 2012