Have you ever sat, early in the morning, slowly munching away at your cereal as you read, and reread the cereal box sitting in front of you? Who hasn’t done that right? Because eating cereal is a huge part of a Breakfast Club of Canada breakfast program we thought to ourselves, “Why don’t we use this opportunity to jazz up some cereal boxes in a way that will not only nourish children’s tummies, but also stimulate their brains?” Thanks to our good friends at Exeko, an agency for social innovation, we came up with the Cerebral Box Challenge and invited some of our Ontario and BC schools to participate.
No less than 7500 students participated in over 60 schools during the month of May! The cereal boxes had been decorated by the schools with inspiring quotations and thought-provoking questions. What ensued was nothing short of magical; with kids of all ages engaged in conversation over such questions as “If you were given an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?”
Through this experience and by listening in to the conversations taking place, the breakfast program volunteers learned some valuable insight into the lives of the students. Here are a few stories that we wanted to share with you:
Once we started, a little girl land me here piece of paper to read, with a huge smile on her face. On it, it was written: “I would believe in myself”.
The other piece of paper that caught my attention is the one written by Rachel; “I would stay at my age”.
As I continue to speak, Zeniah and Shayma, two sisters, are looking at me with their big and clear smiles while trying to mime words with their hands. “Yes?” I say. “We are from Syria… English is, hummm… not good”, Shayma says. “Oh! You just arrived?” They answer by the affirmative. “Oh… So you witnessed the war?!” (I don’t know why I said that) “Yes…” Spontaneously, Shayma points her hands and fingers at me as if it is some kind of submachine gun and adding her own soundtrack of multiple gunshots that probably sounds like an endless echo of her fears… “You’re a survivor!” I say and, after making sure it is okay to go on, I ask, “What would you do if I would give you an extra hour per day?” I am so happy to hear that Zeniah wants to take photographs of landscape, and Shayma wants to get involved into community projects. They say, when there’s life, there’s hope!