Ripple Foundation, a volunteer-run education charity advocating for creative literacy among Canadian children in grades four to 12, will be holding its inaugural virtual conference Express Inspire Connect on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Headlining the event is New York Times bestselling author, Nic Stone.
The conference will also mark a decade of the foundation’s Kids Write 4 Kids creative writing challenge – the only contest of its kind in Canada that sees winners become published authors before reaching high school – and its evolution to offer programs that support Canadian students at all stages of their writing journey.
Ivy Wong, founder of Ripple Foundation, spoke with Q&Q about the conference and her vision for the future.
What sparked the idea for a national conference?
We have just celebrated 10 years of Kids Write 4 Kids, with our superstar winners announced earlier this summer. In part to mark the occasion, I felt there was an opportunity to bring together students who have participated in our programs over the years to celebrate creative literacy and shine a spotlight on our participants. The national conference also allows us to expand creative literacy beyond just writing stories and blog posts, by having songwriting and comic scriptwriting workshops among many other areas that depend on the written word.
How did you decide on the theme?
Express, inspire, and connect are words that represent what creative literacy is all about. When we create, we express our ideas. Our ideas are inspired by what we see and hear. That’s how we connect.
What role have youth volunteers played in constructing the conference?
We have a Youth Events Team of six students from grades seven to 10 assisting with the production of the conference. They developed and will lead the experiential activities. We also have a youth-led session by two grade 11 students
, who will discuss key differences between manga, anime – something extremely popular among Gen Z right now – and conventional novels. In addition, there will be roundtable discussions with Wave Bloggers and Kids Write 4 Kids winners as the panellists.
What are some of the topics that will be covered?
The plenary sessions are focused on expression. Topics include the impact of your social media image and how young people can use journaling as a mental health tool and way to manage stress and anxiety.
In the afternoon, there are three breakout sessions designed to inspire, engage, and connect. Students can choose from three workshops led by professionals in songwriting, comic script writing, or poetry writing.
There are also three roundtable discussions to choose from, including with our Kids Write 4 Kids contest winners and contest judges.
At the end of the jam-packed day, New York Times bestselling author, Nic Stone, will deliver a keynote speech to attendees.
What has been the reception to news of the conference?
Everyone is very excited as we have such a range of activities, there is something that appeals to children and teens of all ages. Libraries and schools across the country are excited to share this with their networks and students as they head back to school, and we are excited to see familiar and new faces there (virtually) on the day!
What do you hope kids, tweens, and teens take away from the conference?
The conference is an extension of our advocacy of creative literacy. We are celebrating all things writing and championing the power of words and the important part this plays in building promising futures for the next generation. It will be fun, but attendees will also have the opportunity to expand their thinking and ideas about creative literacy, connect with like-minded people, and learn practical skills, tools, and applications for bettering their literacy skills in their daily lives.
What is your vision for the future?
I believe that creativity is the skill of the future, and literacy is necessary for life’s success. We believe the benefits of creative literacy will better prepare the students for the future. As a 100% volunteer-run charity, we want to encourage more youth participation and foster a sense of philanthropy. By providing more youth-led opportunities, we have the potential to shape the leaders of tomorrow.