On account of the fact that I was raised in Canada by immigrant parents from England, I was encouraged to consider the outlooks that arise outside the borders of one’s own country and to look at social problems from a global perspective.
In reflecting upon my own experiences of bullying and those of others, it struck me that the voices of children were absent. We were hearing from an entire spectrum of adult stakeholders. But the voices of the children themselves were missing. I couldn’t help thinking that if a bullied child had the opportunity of voicing their own experience and perspective, that the act itself might be a healing one.
In the creation of the Zoned Comic Contest, we envision the achievement of social benefits that are tied to the cathartic and therapeutic benefits to children because they have a safe space in which to tell their own stories. We see our work, by our visits to schools and communities, by the posters we leave behind, the comic books made available for children, as a constant reminder to all of us of the need to leave bullying behaviours behind and embrace each other and our differences instead.
From another perspective, I entered this project with the viewpoint that one could do well financially and at the same time achieve a social good. With this in mind, we began searching for a partner that could bring significant public attention to this project, a partner who would also grasp the idea of tying financial success to the achievement of social benefits. We secured a formal agreement with Shriners Hospitals for Children –Canada. The support of Shriners Hospitals for Children –Canada will provide the Zoned Comic Contest a greater opportunity to speak to Canadian families, the communities they live in and the schools their children attend on this issue of bullying.
The social component of the Zoned Comic Contest’s program is accompanied, however, by a program that seeks financial success, a success which in itself enables the sharing of resources. The business aspect of the Zoned Comic Contest is centered upon the facilitation of new and/or existing products to market. I took my facilitation expertise to a new level when I left the comfort of a senior management position and took over the leadership of a small start-up company. With a line of organic products, which were somewhat ahead of their time, I achieved a deeper understanding of the challenges of taking new products or products not really understood to market. Another aspect of my facilitation expertise was developed upon my taking a new technological product through the patent and relevant approval processes through to its introduction to major corporations.
The Zoned Comic Contest royalty program believes in the potential of securing significant sales revenues for its clients by its insuring that the right products or technologies are placed in front of the right audiences.
Another specific question the Zoned Comic Contest asks whether we can conceive of Super Heroes who defeat the foe, the bully, by means of tactics which are so smart, savvy and sophisticated so that they do not need to use violence. To this end, the Zoned Comic Contest has also invited contest submissions which feature such a Super Hero. By this means we ask whether we can transform some of the assumptions that promote and applaud violence as the only socially transformative power. We ask whether we can explore different, non-traditional, means to deal with bullying and violence. Can we employ techniques of inclusivity and healing to bring healing in where there previously was hatred?
I dream that one day I will live in a world where problems will be solved by non-violent means. However difficult this might seem, it is my wish that we find a way to solve our differences by thoughtful words and kindness. It is a tall order, I know. Is it wishful thinking? I’m not sure.