Mahea Hill

Mahea Hill

Rossland youth create comics for change

Rossland youth launched Comics for Change at the YAN Space on Monday night.

Local youth have launched their very own comic book.

Comics for Change launched at a party at the Rossland Youth Action Network (YAN) Space on Monday night. The collection is the result of the Next Steps project that local youth began working on over the summer after a visit from representatives of the McCreary Centre Society.

“The McCreary Centre taught some really cool things,” said Ellie Knox, 14. “I was just sort of baffled by it because we’re considered the generation that’s more party-ish, more drugs, more alcohol, but actually these statistics say that it’s not. There’s less teen pregnancies than there were in the past. It was really interesting to hear all that.”

Hannah Neumayer and Tanyss Knowles facilitated a youth health workshop in August to share the results of the BC Adolescent Health Survey with Rossland youth. Since then, the kids proposed a number of projects, but ultimately decided to produce a collection of comic strips and artwork engaging with youth issues.

But the issues that meant the most to Rossland youth weren’t necessarily issues they felt were addressed by the statistics.

“Most of the results didn’t have to do with diversity. They were more just kind of general results,” said Jade Connolly, 14.

Connolly produced a comic with Molly Jamin, 13, about people’s hidden talents and how people should let those hidden “colours” shine through.

Teens who contributed to the book drew from a number of sources to identify important topics and themes.

“I got a lot of the ideas from my friends, and my family and mostly from my school and everything,” said Yasmin Evans, 13.

Evans comics address subjects such as gender equality, rejection and suicide. Many of the comics in the book engage with similar issues of diversity, identity and mental health.

“Something that kind of came out in the research that right away the youth felt they wanted to really kind of highlight was mental health issues and emotional health, and you’ll find a lot of those in there,” said local artist Kristen Renn, who worked with youth on the comics during YAN’s Art Night. “I taught them about comics and good ways to put a message into a comic and how to show it, but the majority of them came up with their own theme.”

The book also included photographic reproductions of the large-scale posters produced by 19 youth on the day of the workshop.

The launch on Monday was the first time the youth contributing to the book had a chance to see the finished product, and the event gave them the chance to share their work with the community.

Prizes were also awarded to the youth for their artwork.