By Allison Nanni
When real world bully Braxton creates trouble for Samantha (Sam) at school, Sam thinks an online lashing is in order to get back at him. But Penny, Sam’s little sis and the crew’s newest freshman member, leads the team to the cyber world to “arm” her big sister with the needed tools to restore the peace both in the digital world and the school’s halls.
The Take Ten Crew is a group of comic book characters created in 2007 by students from the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) and the local schools. The creative initiative is an outgrowth of RCLC’s Take Ten© program, a skills-based violence prevention program that builds conflict resolution expertise. The comic book stories engage readers of all ages by providing both realistic bullying scenarios and positive alternatives to violence.
Ellen Kyes, Take Ten’s program director will address a Memorial Hospital “Community Plunge” on cyber bullying in February. Kyes knows this topic is on the minds of both parents and children, and this new edition of the comic has evolved to reflect the experiences of today’s students. The forthcoming edition also involves online animated characters. “Everyone loves comic books. But this is a unique tool to reach kids – this time in a futuristic way,” she says.
But here’s the best part: Youth artists wrote the storyline and designed the illustrations.
This talented group was referred by the Snite Museum of Art and by local intermediate and high school art teachers. The creative experience required extensive home drawing assignments and four hours of weekly studio work at the Center until the project was complete.
The comic book enables each young artist to develop a professional portfolio of published work. Local art instructors recognize it as a fabulous opportunity for their best and most committed students.
“It is amazing to watch kids from different backgrounds gel as a team and support one another,” says Kyes.
Initially, during the Take Ten lesson and brainstorming phase, three of the artists shared their own cyber-bullying experiences. Other stories surfaced later.
Robinson Community Learning Center AmeriCorps members, Rachael Foster and Lauren Kross, assisted the group during studio time at the Robinson Community Learning Center while Jeff Peterson, of Mindstorm Digital, served as the lead artist on the project.
The launch of the comic book is slated for February 16. For more information, visit http://rclc.nd.edu.