BYS Conversation with Rayne Lacko, author of Dream Up Now/ The Teen Journal for Creative Self Discovery

From September 2020 BYS Newsletter

Bainbridge Youth Services is hosting a DREAM UP NOW workshop for middle schoolers. The six-week workshop will be based on local author Rayne Lacko’s new book, Dream Up Now — the Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery.

Sessions will be every Wednesday, beginning Sept. 30 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. for students at Woodward Intermediate School and Hyla Middle Schools. The Dream Up Now! The Creative Workshop for Self Discovery sessions are facilitated by Rayne and community outreach adviser Lesley Holmes in cooperation with BYS. A Zoom link will be provided.

Rayne’s journal offers practical instruction and space for self-reflection and creative play. Together with Lesley Holmes, Rayne has partnered with 18 recognized community leaders to inspire readers to express their emotions through creative writing, art, movement, music, and poetry. BYS Counselor Courtney Oliver is featured in the book, which will be published later this month.

As a young adult fiction author, Rayne is an advocate for the arts as a form of social and emotional well-being. As a writing mentor, she’s recognized locally for leading a youth creative workshop, an annual writing camp, and a teen arts showcase through Bainbridge Public Library.  She also serves on the board of trustees at Bainbridge Performing Arts. Through her work, she inspires young people and their families to use creativity to stimulate positive change in their lives and communities.

Rayne believes music, language, and art connect us, and she explores those themes in her novel, A Song For The Road,  and her new Dream Up book,. She also is publishing the online course, Six Easy Steps to Leading the Transformational Workshop Teens Want To Attend. We asked Rayne to share what inspires her:

Why did you write Dream Up?

Imagine a brain that is constantly seeking pleasure, being bombarded with sensory information, and igniting impulses. All the while, adolescent fears of the unknown, a lack of self-understanding, and fears of inadequacy crowd in. A student involved in the arts is four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement; four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair; three times more likely to win an award for school attendance; and three times more likely to be elected to school office, according to the report, Living the Arts through Language + Learning. 

Engaging in the arts improves self-esteem and decreases anxiety, especially for teens. Dream Up Now offers creative activities to help improve positive self-regard and alleviate anxiety. The journal features 18 diverse leaders from arts and therapeutic communities and founded in cognitive research.

Throughout adolescence millions of teens repeatedly struggle with depression, anxiety, self-image issues, stress, family and school pressures, self-injury, suicidal thoughts, the expectations of social groups, or excessive worry about the future.  Teenagers must manage rapidly fluctuating emotions. They often wonder who they can or should trust. Despite being surrounded by peers and family, teens often feel lonely and misunderstood. Many yearn for respite from their many concerns in the form of social acceptance, confidence, and a strong sense of self. They believe mastery of self-control will manifest contentment. 

Dream Up Now offers the self-directed lessons covering these very topics. The journal reinforces a young person’s well-being by inspiring a sense of belonging, acceptance, authenticity, and honoring one’s own voice, unique emotions, and creativity.

What do you hope your book will do for teens?

Dream Up Now is a fun, arts-based, social-emotional journey for students aged 12-18. When it’s leveraged in the format of our six-week series of workshops as BYS is offering, teens will discover real skills to manage fluctuating emotions, while supporting positive mental health, and setting and accomplishing personal goals. We offer practical instructions to help teens honor their inner artist while finding confidence, improved self esteem, and acceptance. We help our readers feel less alone by sharing the first-person accounts of successful adults who overcame their own emotional struggles as teens by engaging in the arts.

How do we get your book?

Dream Up Now releases on September 29, 2020 from Free Spirit Publishing, and is available for pre-order now. We’ve also created a fun, engaging online course for adults who would like to lead social-emotional learning workshops using Dream Up Now. The course is called Six Easy Steps to Leading the Transformational Workshop Teens Want To Attend. It will come out at the same time as the journal.

Why do you support BYS?

As a parent and former teen, I believe we all understand how difficult and confusing adolescence often feels. I wish I’d had more trusted adults to confide in during middle and high school. What an incredible resource to be able to receive teen-specific counseling from diverse professionals, so close to local schools—and yet far enough away to ensure a young person’s privacy. Teens need caring parents to support them, but they also need to individuate as they grow into adulthood. Even when they’re receiving the very best nurturing and care, they still need objective feedback from trustworthy adults who see them as they choose to be seen.  Best of all, the staff and counselors at BYS are excellent, offering high quality care and therapeutic support. If we are a community who cares about its young people, and our future, we must continue to support the programs offered by BYS.

How did BYS contribute to your book?

What an honor to have BYS counselor Courtney Oliver contribute to Dream Up Now! Her advice is timeless, and frankly, it’s applicable to all ages—not only teens. The journal explores a variety of dark emotions, and shows teens how to transform challenging feelings to their opposite, light emotion. Courtney contributed the emotions set: I Feel… Tired, and I Feel…Fired Up. She explains the value of establishing a restful, rejuvenating night time routine that can significantly improve a young person’s outlook simply be ensuring they guide themselves to receive adequate rest. She shows how to custom create a workable plan. Once our teen reader is well-rested, she flips on the light by celebrating the feeling of being “fired up.” She shows readers how to make the most of a high-energy day by creating a vision board. This fun activity awakens fond memories of cutting and pasting (teens still love to play!) while at the same time determining personal values, dreams for the future, and creating a clear vision for the person a teen is working to become. This powerful activity helps a young person clarify what is important to them so they can begin taking steps toward the future they most desire.