Children in care launch new story book all about spreading kindness

A group of care experienced children in Northern Ireland have launched a new story book, ‘Kindness and Superpowers’, to help raise awareness of the care experience.

13/08/21

Children in care launch new story book all about spreading kindness

A group of children in care have launched their own book to raise awareness of the experiences of children like themselves.

The book, written by young children in partnership with a local story-telling organisation Still I Rise, tells the story of Maya, a young girl living in care, and her mission to spread kindness through simple acts during her day.

The story features a range of different types of care and care experiences, and includes children living in foster families, in kinship care, and living in residential children’s homes.

The group say the characters and the families in the story reflect the diversity of the community, with children from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, with disabilities and special needs, and with different abilities and talents. The families featured include one-parent families, blended families, same-sex families, and multi-generational families.

Speaking at the book’s official launch at Spruce Meadows, Alicia Toal, Chief Executive of the charity Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) which coordinated the project, said representation is important, especially for younger children.

“It’s essential that children can see themselves, through characters that have similar experiences to them, reflected in the stories they hear and the media they consume. The children have done an amazing job, creating a beautiful book that so lovingly puts children with experience of care front and centre, as the superheroes of the story,” Toal said.

The book was created as part of VOYPIC’s See Me, Hear Me project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. A group of children, all aged 12 years old or under, spent 12 weeks exploring different types of stories, with a different book read and discussed each week. From this, the children developed ideas for their story, the characters and the plot.

Due to the pandemic, the project had to be delivered online, with the stories read on screen by different guest readers each week.

Joseph, aged 11, who took part in the project said he enjoyed meeting the other young people in care and getting to hear all their different stories.

“There were lots of different types of stories, lots of adventures. They were all different, but they all were about being kind to others, even if they are different from you.”

“When we started writing our story, we wanted the main character to be a superhero. Not with magic powers or to wear a cape and fly, but with the power to help people that she meets. Helping others, being kind to them and making them feel good – that is a superpower.”

The launch of the book is the first social action to come out of VOYPIC’s National Lottery Community Fund sponsored See Me Hear Me project. The project, which runs across Northern Ireland, supports young people with lived experience of care to undertake social action projects, aimed at raising awareness of care and helping children to make a difference in their own lives and that of those around them.

Alicia Toal says social actions play a vital role in building confidence and empathy, and developing skills such as problem solving, interpersonal skills, networking and resilience.

“Social action gives young people the opportunities to explore their interests and hobbies, and allows them develop their skills in a supported way. Our project aims help children and young people to develop social awareness and a sense of belonging, and to strengthen their social bonds within their community. That might be the care-experienced community or their own local community.”

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