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I had a few moments to catch up with Mya Kidson recently, and she’s someone we think you should know all about! A Roots of Empathy student and an active member in YWCA Cambridge Girls’ Centre programs, Mya is an outstanding leader, but not a “typical leader”… and that’s worth celebrating. 

Mya Kidson Interview Tell us a bit about yourself Mya!
“I'm Mya Kidson. I am 14 years old and was born in Cambridge Ontario. I have lived in Cambridge mostly all of my life (though I lived in Nova Scotia for two years). I am dedicated to drawing, and creating art. I also fancy writing stories, scrapbooking, art journaling, and devoting most of my time volunteering to help others. Art and Language are my preferred subjects. My perfect future is to be a writer and live in the country where I can write tranquilly and be free from the restless cities to escape into a world of my own.”

Finish this sentence: YWCA Girls’ Centre is _________________________.
… exceptionally stellar! The endless activities held at YWCA range from neat science experiments to wonderful movie nights. They've done it all! I find the girls at YWCA make special affiliations with one another,that make the moments there even more memorable. I feel like the Girls' Centre is a home away from home. When I commenced in the programs at YWCA I found myself more confident, and my self-esteem increased immensely. A huge "thanks" to YWCA for making me realize my potential. I mean, I wouldn't be one of the few winners of the video contest if I hadn't joined YWCA.

What does leadership mean to you, and what kind of leader do you want to be?
The qualities of my ideal leader are…
Respect- A leader with respect cares for others around them.
Equality- A leader who demonstrates equality shows fairness among EVERYONE in a group of people, making sure everyone is treated equivalently.
Responsible- A responsible leader follows the job that is requested of them and takes the blame for their own mistakes.
Commitment- A leader needs to acknowledge that once they become a leader they will always be a leader. They will always have someone that looks up to them.
Great role model- Children and teens will look up to that leader and most will aim to be just like them. The leaders actions reflect onto others watching and learning from them.
Positive- This leader is always positive with his/her role. She /he admires being a leader, and the positivity reflects onto the followers.
Not stubborn to share the spot light- Although it may be hard sometimes to have someone that has the same role as you, a great leader is happy to share the leader position with others.
Confidence- This leader is confident with his/her role. She/he steps up to be an impressive leader with confidence and dedication.
This is the leader I strive and succeed to be.

What inspires you?
In art I'm inspired by blank canvases, unfinished projects, and especially my wandering mind. This provokes me to use my visionary intellect to produce something inventive.
In writing I'm inspired by detailed pictures with endless story possibilities. my imagination is set free and I leap into the picture. I envision myself living in the moment and write what I am seeing in my head.
Music inspires my mind fantasies to change to each different tune. I put my headphones in and shut the lights off in a quiet room. I close my eyes , eventually falling asleep but this relaxes me from a hectic day, and My mind adventures are new each time.

What advice would you give to girls your age?
"You are beautiful and nobody has the right to make you feel you're not. ~unknown author"
Beauty is in every girl on earth. We are all beautiful and no one should tell you you’re not. So to every girl reading this, I know your beautiful, but you have to tell yourself that. Look at yourself in the mirror today and say "I am beautiful, no one can tell me that I'm not! My favourite feature of myself is..."

What do you think we should be thinking more about: locally, nationally, or internationally?
I read the newspaper somewhat occasionally and observe the world news. I find the majority of the news is strictly bad news. Where has all the good news gone? What I would love to see happen on newspapers and news networks is for them to have "inspirational quote of the day", to brighten up someones day even more. Along with "breaking news" it wouldn't hurt to learn a new quote a day.

Your recent video, StopMotion, was one of the winners of the Canadian Women's Foundation Girl's Voice Video Contest (way to go Mya!) Can you tell us about your video? What inspired it, and why did you want to speak up about these issues?
My claymation video is about a girls named Wendy. Wendy is new at this school and she is not welcomed with a friendly gesture. She is different from the popular crowd, and the three mean girls disfavour her. They bully her and she won't speak up because she is afraid that the bullying with get even worse. The bystanders just watch as the bullying proceeds. As the mean girls stroll past Wendy's house, a crowd of people with anti-bullying signs swarm the area. This leaves the bullies feeling small and powerless against Wendy. Wendy isn't bothered by them anymore.
I was motivated to make this video and use the subject "no bullying" because I feel bullying is a major problems especially associated with teens. As the future evolves we face increasing problems with cyber bullies, physical bullies, verbal bullies, etc. This video demonstrates physical bullying when Wendy is pushed down.
I have been a past victim of physical bullying in grade one and also a victim of verbal and emotional bullying in grade 8. The bullying problems were eventually resolved after what seemed like an eternity, but as the bullying continued through the school year I never wanted to go to school for the fear of being bullied. In grade 8 I started to ignore what she said to me and tried not to take her insulting comments personally (her surly criticism consisted of the words, fat, ugly, stupid, weird, worthless, etc.). I just ignored her snide remarks and it got me through the rest of the school year in a positive mood.
A quote that inspires me is, "Be who you are, say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.~Dr. Seuss"
Dr. Seuss states that it's ok to be different and if you have an opinion, say it. Your true friends won't judge you for being yourself, and people who do judge, aren't important in your life.

Thanks for your time Mya! YOU are what inspires us! We are honored to be a part of your journey!

Interview by Megan Lambe, Director of Communications YWCA Cambridge

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