With over 10 years of experience coaching kids and teens in the arts, John Stevens and his partner Doug Sloan, the owners of Talent INC Canada, are on a mission to empower the young people they work with. “The arts offer such a unique opportunity for young people to express themselves in a fun and safe environment,” says Stevens.
John explained further, “I think that acting, and more specifically the welcoming atmosphere at Talent INC Canada, allows for freedom of expression in a non-threatening environment. That is the first step to boosting the confidence of these kids and it is therapeutic. From there they deal with the feelings and intentions behind words and phrases of an aggressor through role play and can ‘practice’ rebuttals and tactics for putting these bullies in their place,”
According to Stevens, acting classes seem to be the most effective way to unlock a bullied child’s potential. Since acting inherently deals with feelings and intentions of words and phrases, it sets the stage for open conversations about what these kids feel when they are under attack from a bully. Through these conversations and role plays, kids come to understand what it is these bully characters are lacking emotionally and can experience this through scene work, and becoming the “bully”.
Doug Sloan tells of many success stories of students who have overcome bullying by building their confidence through acting, singing, dancing, and modeling. “These kids blossom through the training process. Next thing they know they have booked roles in feature films and TV. That creates confidence that aggressors find threatening.”
“It’s rewarding to know that the work we do is having a long term effect on these incredible young people. We have watched our students grow up with better public speaking skills, manners, and interview skills. It’s the best thing I have seen to develop confidence and overcome bullying,” Stevens goes on to say.
Talent INC Canada students have reported that many of their bullies have moved on to other targets now that they are armed with the tools to communicate with their aggressors. Not only are these kids helping themselves, but with this increased knowledge comes more confidence. With this confidence many of these kids have shared their knowledge with others who are being bullied. “The fact that these kids are not only navigating through their own issues but are also reaching out to others experiencing bullying speaks volumes,” explains Stevens.