In high school I had a bright yellow Backpack. One of the kids at school just kept dirtying it in the hope of it being less bright. It didn’t really work. My mum just kept cleaning it and sending me back to school the next day.

But that was almost a representation of my time at school. People don’t really understand you when you’re bright and cheery. I was always singing, had a strange accent, just generally didn’t really fit in. And I was bullied for it.

The Rainbow Backpack series was birthed out of my journey through my life so far. Trying to fit in in a world that I was born to stand out in. See that’s me, the bright one in the middle. And these are my friends. Each one of us is dealing with different issues, trying to find our place in our world. This series is going to be a 7 week series that we are taking into schools dealing with issues such as identity, bullying, healthy emotions, boundaries, healthy communication, integrity/character, jealousy, strength and freedom, each one depending on the others to grow in their weaknesses as they learn their way through their mistakes and heartbreaks.

Here’s just a few of our stories…

Ollie the orange is dealing with a boundaries issue. Although he’s compassionate and caring he has to learn that it’s ok to say no. He builds his resilience through speaking up, realising that it’s not his responsibility how someone chooses to react, that it’s important to look after himself and that he is important too.

Bobbie is dealing with anxiety and depression and is having a tough time at home. His friends try and help him the best way they know how, but somehow it’s not so helpful.. Story number 3 will really help children to identify healthy emotions, realising that it’s ok to be sad or angry, and to acknowledge our pain, but then working out a way to go through it to the other side in a healthy way.

Pearl is Porsha the bullies best friend. She is desperate to be accepted and doesnt want to say anything to upset anyone. She learns to wear a mask and struggles to communicate. So when her best friend tells everyone on social media her secret, Pearl is left with the decision. Does she tell Porsha how she feels or keep everything inside to keep everyone else happy? She learns some lessons in being honest and learns it’s ok to tell people how you feel just like Bobbie is learning.

Gerbert green is strong but he compares himself and struggles with jealousy, Raven red has to learn how to deal with her anger and struggles with integrity and having character, Porsha the bully struggles to open up and let people in, learning about friendship and how to treat people. All in all, the program is hoping for children to identify with a character and how they too can learn the same vital lessons.

Teaching children the power of words and the affect that their actions have on someone else is life changing. We have been running this program in vacation care centres around Australia telling my story, inspiring children in the way that they see themselves. I am so excited to see what is to come of this program as we continue to develop not only the stories themselves but the activities to go with them. We hope to run it as a program officially in February 2020 so keep a lookout 🙂

Until next time,

Lauren

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