One Collingwood resident is hoping to break ground when it comes to mental health and bullying.
Jackeline Mills has lived in Collingwood for 15 years. Originally from Toronto, her life has taken many turns – from competitive gymnastics to kick-boxing, from education in medical science to mutual funds – but that experience has spurred her toward a lifelong passion: standing up for those who need a friend.
Mills has started her own business, called Tell the Story, as a motivational speaker, and she’s been touring local schools to deliver a message of positivity on the subjects of mental health and bullying.
She was bullied as a student, but overcame the negativity by standing shoulder to shoulder with friends.
“It’s bothered me throughout my life,” said Mills. “Now I have a son and he went through it, and it gave me a kick to move forward with this.”
Mills went to Admiral and Mountain View Public Schools last year to speak to kids about the power of standing up for each other, and forming strong friendships.
She shares a message based on the phrase “I am a witness.” Through that statement she encourages upstanders instead of bystanders. Mills aims to provide children with the tools they need to be a witness and to make them stronger to stand up to bullies and to make sure they stay mentally healthy.
“The problem is, children are not being listened to,” she said.
Mills sees a strong connection between bullying and adverse effects on mental health, and she's concerned it's only becoming worse. She hopes her message, which she directs to adults and children, is unique and makes a real difference in the lives of those who hear it.
“It is a fight, there is lots of negativity around this issue,” said Mills. “I’m going to be the soldier and I’m going to stand up and say, ‘enough is enough,’ and I’m going to make a difference. I’m honoured to be able to stand up for kids. It’s a huge responsibility.”
She is building a team of artists, medical professionals, production professionals and more in order to form presentations that are engaging and encompass a wide-range of experience and perspective.
“I’m here to make a difference and show love in the community,” said Mills. “We all need to come together and make a difference.”
She is planning a big show at the Gayety to include music, games, presentations and fun for all ages on May 25, 2019. Until then she’ll be going into more local elementary schools and building her team. If you’d like to join her team or book her to speak for your organization, you can email her here.