Revolutionary Empowering Technology
BYBS offers multimedia experiences for children and youth that equip and empower them to build their future with purpose, resilience, self-awareness, and social responsibility, for their own good and that of the planet.
Why BYBS?Taking early career and positive development to a new level
At BYBS, we are creating a new future for our children and youth. One that puts their interests first, and gives them ownership over their career path while promoting environmental awareness, climate change education, and social justice.
Our experiences are developed in light of the most up-to-date, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary sciences relevant to early career development, child development, and climate change education.
Children’s & Youth’s Rights
Every single one of us should have a fair chance of being their best self – we empower young people by educating them on their rights and freedoms, as well as their parents and educators.
Entertainment To Educate
Our approach is entertaining, approachable and rewarding. We want to demystify what it means to find one’s purpose by providing our target demographic with interactive and multimedia experiences.
Through feedback loops based on decisions within our interactive experiences, resources and opportunities for self reflection and growth are provided to help children and youth develop foundational socio-emotional and pre-employability skills as well as set realistic and achievable goals for their future.
Our GameThe Layers
At BYBS, we are creating a new future for our children. One that puts their interests first, and gives them ownership over their career path while promoting environmental awareness and climate change education.
About The Game
“The Layers” is a Survival Adventure RPG video game which will depict a teen’s hero’s journey through a dystopian world. The player will be faced with important decisions that need to be made to move the narrative forward. Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated feedback loops will engage the player in meaningful ways to promote personal growth and career development as well as environmental awareness and climate change education.
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About The Book
They’re the “lucky” ones—the ten percent of the world’s population who managed to survive the ravages of global warming. But in the face of worldwide destruction, with the earth’s surface no longer compatible with human life, these men, women, and children soon found themselves with no other choice than to move underground.
You can read the full synopsis on the Amazon book page.
The 100JCRevolutionary ideas that can change the world
Our innovative approach combines climate change education with early career and positive development to support children and youth in their quest for self-discovery while promoting social responsibility. Because we are in ‘this’ together.
The 100 Jobs Challenge is our signature interactive program designed to promote early career and positive development, climate change awareness, and social justice. Developed to meet the specific needs of children and youth in their early stages of career development, this program promotes self-discovery, opens participants’ minds to a wide range of career options, while teaching socio-emotional skills, resilience. and environmental awareness. The 100JC can be delivered as summer camps, spring and winter breaks, after school programs, or in-class modules.
“Every child is a new chance for the whole human race.”
The Hon. Landon Pearson, O.C.
About UsWe make a difference, for children and youth and for the world at large
For children, the world sometimes feels like a constant boss battle. We help children build their future with purpose and to become more environmentally aware and knowledgeable about climate change. In other words, we give them the tools they need to succeed in life, and they will make the world a healthier and more inclusive place for all.
Established in 2019, Be Your Best Self (BYBS) is based in the areas of early career development, climate change education, and gaming. Founded by Stefania Maggi, an academic and child rights advocate, the genesis of BYBS came from a desire to empower children and youth through education of their rights and climate change and to enable them to shape their own future from an early age.
BYBS’s experiences are developed in light of the most up-to-date, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary sciences relevant to early career development, child development, climate change education, and social justice.
To make sure that every single young person on the planet has a fair chance of being their best self.
To equip and empower young people across the globe to build their future with purpose, resilience, self-awareness, and social responsibility.
Our multi-generational & diverse team has a radical vision of the future. We are compassionate, inventive and guided by the highest scientific and ethical standards. With much of our team members being under 30, we walk the talk, every step of the way.
Stefania Maggi, PhD
Founder & CEO
Stefania Maggi, PhD Founder & CEO
Stefania has a Doctorate in Epidemiology, an MA in Developmental Psychology, and a BA in Educational Psychology. She is a University professor, educator, researcher, a member of the Children’s Rights Academic Network (CRAN), a children’s rights advocate, and a science fiction author. She is a respected leader who works in partnership with community, governmental, and non-governmental organizations in Canada and internationally to promote community resilience, healthy child development, youth participation, climate change awareness, and career and leadership development. Stefania’s work on career education and climate change has been disrupting the field of career coaching with her timely and innovative approach to combine climate change education with career and leadership development. Over the course of her life, Stefania has learnt to cope with the challenges that come with learning disabilities and chronic health problems. She is an inspiration to young people with whom she shares her stories of dealing with her struggles, which include being an immigrant woman breaking through a male dominated industry.
Art Director & Lead Digital Artist
Andrea Mancuso Art Director & Lead Digital Artist
Award-winning creative director, character designer, digital artist, and content creator. For nearly fifteen years Andrea has been involved in the entertainment industry helping film studios,
TV networks/streaming platforms, and gaming companies bring their properties to international audiences and shaping pop culture.
Andrea has developed complex and extensive Hollywood theatrical and TV launches, working on properties such as “X-Men”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Saw”, “Spiderman” and “John Wick”,
executing original and ambitious global campaigns, stunts and experiential activations on a large scale, all the while delivering to clients such as Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Amazon, Netflix, Disney,
Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox consistent performance across the board, and establishing a direct dialogue with the fanbase.
Andrea has also been actively involved in the gaming industry, helping studios like Namco-Bandai, Square Enix, Konami, and Sony Online Entertainment create original content and consolidate existing IPs,
bringing to the table expertise ranging from scripting to pre-production (character design, concept art & previz ) to cinematic direction.
lead researcher, neuroscience of gaming, ethical reward systems and engagement
Sebastiano Pocchi lead researcher, neuroscience of gaming, ethical reward systems and engagement
Sebastiano has a Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological and Methodological Sciences.
Sebastiano has collaborated with the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Sleep Psychophysiology at University of L’Aquila on the consolidation of emotional memory during sleep. He is currently working with Dr. Maggi on a review of the literature on the role of active and supportive listening in the context of children-adult communication for the development of socio-emotional skills and resilience.
A great passion for videogaming, led Sebastiano to research the potential beneficial effects of gaming, XR environments and new digital technologies on young gamers at different levels: neurological, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social. Sebastiano is particularly sensitive to the issue of young people’s mental health and gaming to which he wants to contribute with his research and practice to reduce the negative impacts of this form of entertainment.
During the XR Brain Jam 2021 event promoted by Game4Change, he collaborated as a Subject Matter Expert in the development of an AR (augmented reality) mobile app promoting connection with nature, community sense of belonging and empathy. The GLocal Garden, the prototype for the app that was created, was selected as the winner of the “Product Potential” category.
At BYBS, Sebastiano is contributing to the narrative development, design and implementation of ethical reward and engagement systems for the multimedia experiences that are under development. Furthermore, he is collaborating in evaluation research and the writing of scientific articles in the field of developmental neuroscience, empathy and, self-esteem, and immersive technologies.
Jennifer Schellincks, PhD
Cognitive Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
Jennifer Schellincks, PhD Cognitive Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
Jen has a BA in Philosophy, a BSc in Computer Science, and a PhD in Cognitive Science. She is an Adjunct University professor, researcher, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder of Sysabee, an enterprise dedicated to make analysis techniques from machine learning and systems modeling available to organizations who are seeking to gain the benefits of technology- supported decision making. Jen is an expert in Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer science, philosophy, data analytics, and data-driven knowledge translation. Jen is also the founding member of the Data Science Experts Group, an association of data professionals that build flexible, customized solutions for data-driven companies and organizations. She believes passionately in the power of technology in addressing the world’s most pressing problems and is on a mission to help restore the health of this planet through meaningful applications of big data.
Creative Advisor and Cultural Researcher
Laurent Beausoleil Creative Advisor and Cultural Researcher
Laurent holds a B.A. in both Philosophy and Anthropology from McGill University. He is a proud citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and his research interests lay at the intersection of the study of culture, mind, and brain. At BYBS, Laurent is primarily involved as a creative and cultural advisor in the development of The Layers video game where he is writing and editing the game’s script and dialogues, as well as embedding cross-cultural and socio-emotional learning within the plot of the video game.
Creative Advisor and Cultural Consultant
Aneeka Anderson Creative Advisor and Cultural Consultant
Aneeka is an undergraduate student in her fourth year of study at McGill University, where she majors in Political Science and Anthropology. Aneeka was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario and is Inuk from Pangnirtung, Nunavut. She is a proud throat singer and advocate for the destigmatization of adoption, a process through which she gained two loving families. At BYBS, Aneeka is assisting in the development of culturally relevant material for The Layers series and its accompanying interactive website.
Music Production, Sound Engineering, Creative Writing
Leonardo D’Angiulli Music Production, Sound Engineering, Creative Writing
Leonardo is a young creative, composer, musician, and music producer. He is passionate about using music as an outlet to have an emotional impact on young people who could possibly have a bigger impact on the world. He is currently 18 and enrolled in the Audio Production & Engineering program at Metalworks Institute in Mississagua, Ontario. Before his work at BYBS and his enrollment to Metalworks, Leonardo spent a year at the CKCU FM radio station as a co-op student, working on production of media to help with their marketing. This was one of his experiences that solidified his passion for music. Leonardo dreams of traveling the world and creating his own business in the music industry to bring innovation and social responsibility to this field. At BYBS, he is primarily involved in the development of The Layers video game for which he is writing the game script and dialogues, as well as embedding socio-emotional learning in the plot of the game and producing the music score and audio elements.
Emmie Henderson-Dekort is currently a PhD candidate at Tilburg University in The Netherlands. She also holds a B.A. in Child and Youth Studies and a M.A. in Child and Youth Care. Her current focus involves the voices and participation of children. Through her research, she aims to assist children to better understand and exercise their rights. Using a children’s rights-based approach and child friendly methods of research, such as drawing and play, her unique process allows for authentic voices from children and youth themselves. Specifically, allowing children to co-create definitions, meanings, and perspectives, regarding their own rights. Her research aims to display the unique capacities of every child, regardless of developmental expectations or age. Emmie has an extensive theoretical and practical background in regards to family law, family mediation and parenting coordination as well as child development. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of all young individuals and aims to help children navigate and fully understand their rights.
Daniella Bendo, PhD
Senior Advisor, Children’s Rights
Daniella Bendo, PhD Senior Advisor, Children’s Rights
Daniella holds a B.A. in Child and Youth Studies, an M.A. in Child and Youth Studies, and a PhD in Law and Legal Studies. Her work focuses on children’s rights, child and youth advocacy, child and youth participation and social change at both theoretical and practical levels. She is a passionate children’s rights scholar and advocate who specializes in taking a rights-based approach to working with and for children and youth. Her work with children and youth across Canada is cutting-edge as she helps to educate young people about their rights and works to amplify their voices, viewpoints and informed perspectives in ways that will change and challenge decision makers, policies, service delivery systems, research and practice. Daniella is empowered to use the insights and perspectives she learns from young people to inform public policy on how to better partner with children and youth in meaningful and impactful ways. Her goal is to contribute to the advancement and betterment of young people’s lives.
Game Development and Psychology Researcher
Puneet Bhargava Game Development and Psychology Researcher
Puneet has an MBA and a bachelor’s in computer engineering. He has worked in the information technology industry as a quality assurance professional. Within academia, he has worked in consumer behaviour research in the past. His current research is focused on exploring the applicability of psychological concepts, such as emotional intelligence, to analytics in the video game industry. At BYBS, he is focussed on developing the demo for ‘The Layers’ video-game under the guidance of an extremely interdisciplinary team of people. Puneet is interested in the areas of emotions and self-regulation and the role played by these areas in student academic outcomes and aspires to pursue research in these areas in the future.
Cultural Advisor, Voice Acting, Social Media Strategist
Félix Aupalu Cultural Advisor, Voice Acting, Social Media Strategist
Félix is currently completing his B.A in Industrial and Labour Relations at McGill University. He is a proud member of the Nunavik Inuit of Northern Québec. His interests range from teamwork and organizational behaviour to leadership and cross-cultural management. His creative and collaborative mind have brought him to pursue his passions and endeavours in the world of voice-acting and narration. Félix has an interesting background of involvement on campus where he has served as Treasurer of McGill’s Chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and has also co-founded the Desautels Indigenous Business Society (DIBS), where he serves as the Director of Finance. Throughout his life, he has been on a journey of reconnecting to his Inuit roots and has been a proud ambassador of his people. Félix is a visionary and has economic development plans underway that he will implement in Nunavik. On top of re-learning his long lost mother tongue of Inuktitut, he is fluent in French, English, and Spanish. At BYBS, Félix’s role mainly lays in the implementation of a social media strategy and is a consultant on the cultural advising, but he also takes care of finding funding opportunities in the development of the video game demo.
Children’s Rights Advisory Board – CRAB
We sought out expertise of national and international reach to establish the CRAB, a team of advisors with a common goal: the promotion of children’s rights. CRAB works as a network to provide insights from a rights-based perspective that aids in the development and functions of BYBS as a socially impactful enterprise, as well as the development and applications of its experiences.
The Hon. Landon Pearson, O.C.
The Hon. Landon Pearson, O.C. Honorary Chair
The Honourable Landon Pearson OC is a long-time advocate for the rights and well-being of children. Throughout her career, whether working with or on behalf of children at home and abroad, serving on various councils and commissions or in her role as a Canadian Senator responsible for children, Landon Pearson has been an outspoken champion for children. Upon her retirement from the Senate in 2005 she was invited by Carleton University to establish a centre to ensure that her years of work and her passion for children’s rights would continue to inspire others to carry her vision forward.
Micheal, father of two girls, is from Northern Ireland and has lived in Canada since 2003, when he was seconded to the Canadian International Development Agency as a Principle Advisor in Policy Branch working on children’s rights, protection and participation issues. He is currently focused on three core areas of work – the first as Director at the International Institute for Child Rights in Development working mainly as a Facilitator with First Nations youth. Following a period as a Consultant with the Western Quebec School Board leading on the development and implementation of School Climate Surveys, he has also been focusing on the role and importance of play and nature in children’s development and works in several schools in the region, including that of his children. In the third area of focus Micheal has 25 years of experience of working on children’s rights, protection and safeguarding issues, domestically and internationally, as a policy maker, practitioner, trainer/facilitator and manager. He has collaborated internationally with community-based organizations, NGO’s, INGO’s, Governments and Universities, delivering child rights programming, research, policy development and workshops for Canadian NGO’s such as War Child and Right to Play. He is a member of the Child Rights Academic Network.
Kelly E.M. Stone
Kelly E.M. Stone
Rotiskennenketi – She Who Carries the Burden of Peace
Mohawk name bestowed by Elijah Harper, former Manitoba Legislature member, Chief, and human rights activist, in recognition of work on behalf of indigenous children (2005)
Since 2014, Kelly has been CEO of Families Canada (previously named FRP Canada). Through its members, Families Canada supports half a million Canadian families a year who live in challenging circumstances. During her long Government of Canada career, Kelly had responsibility for child and youth research, domestic public policy and community-level programming. Through her extensive international work, she also advanced child rights-based legislative and public policy frameworks tied with practical in-country, in-community implementation strategies particularly in Mexico, Central and South America. Kelly actively serves as a Board Director or Advisory Committee member for several organizations and initiatives in Canada and the United States, all of which are devoted to improving the lives of children and their families.
Influenced by her family’s history in Uganda and India, Angie has been active in human rights, humanitarian issues and informal education for the past 20 years. She has written and delivered workshops on children and armed conflict, international humanitarian law and many other subjects related to human rights. Currently, Angie Osachoff (nee Mapara) is the Senior Regional Program Manager in British Columbia, Canada, for the Equitas International Centre for Human Rights Education. She is also Vice-Chair of the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, member of the City of Vancouver’s Advisory Committee on Children, Youth and Families, and a member of the Child Rights Academic Network. She graduated from Queen’s University with two degrees; a major in political studies and an honours medial in development studies and political studies. Her areas of focus are children’s rights and their authentic leadership in community and decision-making processes.
Richard Mitchell, PhD
Richard Mitchell, PhD
Richard is a Professor in the Child and Youth Studies Program of Brock University, Ontario, Canada. His teaching, scholarship and service focus upon local, international and transdisciplinary approaches to implementing the human rights of children within political, institutional and community-based settings. He is also an affiliate of the Child Rights Academic Network (CRAN) housed at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. In a previous career, Richard was a child and youth counsellor in British Columbia foster-care, mental health, educational and youth justice settings. Most importantly, Richard is the devoted father of son Finnegan and daughter Siobhàn. In this photo, Richard was captured at the Golden Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal with the Child Guardian.
Valerie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University. Her research is concerned with the health and well-being of children and adolescents, and the social determinants that shape their health trajectories. In particular, she focuses on social, cultural and religious norms that rationalize or normalize harmful health behaviours or attitudes, and that lead to deleterious health outcomes. Her current projects focus on violence, spirituality, mental health, and decolonization and reconciliation. She is a qualitative researcher who typically works in mixed methods paradigms. Most of her projects have participatory strands, in which young people are positioned as co-researchers, and she recognizes children as competent and insightful agents in interpreting their own worlds. She lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Get InvolvedHelp us start the change
There are several ways to get involved in our mission – whether it’s partnering with us, testing our game or simply spreading the word. Contact us today if you are interested in putting children and youth in the driver’s seat of their own future.
We love to hear from anyone with an interest in empowering children and youth around the world – whether you are a parent, a teacher, a child, a youth or an activist.
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