Peterborough Rotary - Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board - Who Is NOBODY?

He has no face, no age, no gender, no ethnicity and no friends.

He’s just a blue doll shaped like a human.

He’s “Nobody” and he’s the core of a program developed by a Toronto-based teacher to help students develop self respect and build on their “unique strengths.”

It's a chance for students to reflect on their actions— Kelly Clark, program founder

“Nobody is a blank slate and a lot students find that exciting because anything’s possible,” said Kelly Clark, director of Who Is Nobody?

“The goal is (for Nobody) to learn something positive from everybody that it meets. Right away it’s sending the message that everybody has something great about them … Everybody has something you can learn about,” she said.

Clark spoke at the Rotary Club of Peterborough yesterday.

She started developing the program for kindergarten to Grade 12 students eight years ago and has been selling it for three years.

Stand up and talk about things happening in their life and inform each other— Kelly Clark, program founder

Clark said she realized that whenever she entered a classroom “right away I could tell if respect was in the class.”

Clark said she knew respect was important, but had no idea how to build it, which is when she developed the program.

The program consists of a brown suitcase labelled “To everybody, from Nobody.” Inside is a DVD with instructions, a bag so every student can take Nobody home for a week, and a scrapbook where students write about their deed and draw pictures.

It’s a chance for students to reflect on their actions, Clark said.

She presented a decorated Nobody doll yesterday.

One student attached eyes because his father is blind and he wanted to raise awareness about the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Another student attached a plastic bag because they picked up garbage in the park and another student attached a running shoe to raise awareness about child labour and how they’re lucky to live in a country where that doesn’t happen.

That's what this does. You've opened a new window for us— Charlie Burge, Rotarian

Having Nobody is a chance for students to “stand up and talk about things happening in their life and inform each other,” Clark said.

Students soon realize “you don’t need a blue doll at your house to do a good deed.”

Rotarian and lifelong educator Charlie Burge said “it’s very hard to get kids to reveal their own strengths.”

“That’s what this does. You’ve opened a new window for us,” he told Clark.

NOTES:To learn more about the program go to…. Forty school boards across the country use the program…. Kelly Clark,director of Who Is Nobody, said she’s sold 650 to date and the number has tripled every year…. Clark also offers a “Who Is Green?” program.

This article was published in the Peterborough Examiner newspaper on February 5th 2009