For Their Own Good & That of the Planet
BYBS offers resources for professionals and digital content for young people to help them cope with eco-anxiety and develop resilience in the face of climate change.
Why BYBS?Inspiring emotional resilience in the face of climate change
At BYBS, we are creating a new future for our children and youth. One that gives them hope and agency over their lives while promoting environmental awareness, climate change education, and social justice.
Our professional development resources and digital content are developed in light of the most up-to-date, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary sciences relevant to the psychological dimensions of climate change 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 support professionals in their efforts to create safe, nurturing and stimulating spaces for children and youth, and we educate young people about the importance of advocating for their rights and how to meaningfully participate in their own lives.
Entertainment that Educates
Our approach is interactive, approachable and rewarding. We want to change the climate change narrative by creating hope-based and solution-oriented professional development resources and digital content that lightens the tone of the climate conversation.
Our mixed-methods value both experiential approaches and analytical strategies. We believe in drawing from all kinds of knowledge to help us shed light on the social and psychological complexities of climate change.
Our GameKibou | The Guiding Light
In collaboration with Carleton University’s Mochi4ThePlanet initiative, we are developing a video game to promote climate resilience, nature connection and climate action.
Kibou | The Guiding Light is a third-person, PC, action-adventure video game appropriate for all audiences. The game is set on Kibou, an Earth-like planet in the Fireworks Galaxy, a million light-years from the Milky Way. In the game, players will follow the adventures of Ki, a young Kibou’s inhabitant, whose world has been thrown upside down by a massive blackout that left them disconnected from their best friend. Ki’s mission is to reunite with their friend at the other end of the planet. Through this journey, and for the first time in their life, Ki will come to contact with Kibou’s stunning natural environment and will meet other characters who live far from the megacities, known as the Villagers. Through navigating Kibou’s diverse terrain and completing quests and puzzles, Ki will gain a more profound understanding of the environmental catastrophe that is looming on their planet and will learn how to do their part to avoid the impending catastrophe.
The Goals of the Game
Players must reach Ki’s friend at the other end of Kibou. But the transformational goals of the game are to reduce eco-anxiety and increase motivation to act towards the resolutions of the climate crisis.
The game is appropriate for everyone, but it has been designed with adolescents and young adults in mind, given their heightened vulnerability to eco-anxiety.
Mechanics of the game include:
Puzzle solving challenges to accomplish quests
Nonviolent combat to defeat enemies and bosses
Platform elements to move and explore environments and levels
Timed proximity to selected natural elements to restore health and gain mana points
Sign up to our mailing list to get news on the release!
Active Empathic Listening for professionals
BYBS is proud to introduce its first Webinar Series: Active Empathic Listening for Professionals.
Active empathic listening skills are essential for enabling supportive and respectful conversations and to promote a sense of community. Active empathic listening is also crucial in addressing many of the challenges humanity is currently facing, such as climate change, but also inequality, division, conflict and collective trauma.
Developing active and empathetic listening skills becomes a strategic resource that can have a decisive impact in different contexts, favouring the development of healthy and supportive communication and the maturation of social-emotional skills that are essential in the rapid changes that characterize this historical period.
Specifically designed for educators and professionals working with families, children and youth, Active Empathic Listening for Professionals webinar series presents neuroscientific and psychological evidence of the benefits of active empathic listening on the developing child while strengthening participants’ listening skills.
This series offers 4 webinars:
Webinar #1: How to Bring Your Listening Skills to the Next Level. Thursday. April 27, 2023 1:00pm-2:30pm EST.
Webinar #2: How to Have Life Changing Conversations with Young Children. Thursday, May 25, 2023 1:00pm-2:30pm EST.
Webinar #3: How to Nurture Empathy in Conversation with Young Children. Thursday, June 22, 2023 1:00pm-2:30pm EST.
Webinar #4: How to Empower Young Children with Constructive Criticism. Thursday, July 27, 2023 1:00pm-2:30pm EST.
Registration is available at Families Canada, our partner organization for this webinar series.
“Every child is a new chance for the whole human race.”
The Hon. Landon Pearson, O.C.
About UsWe make a difference, for young people and for the Planet
For children, the world sometimes feels like a constant boss battle, especially when facing the climate change giant. We help young people tap onto their inner strength and channel their emotions into climate action. In other words, we give them the tools they need to do their part in the fight against climate change and 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 the psychology of climate change and gaming. Founded by Stefania Maggi, an academic and child rights advocate, the genesis of BYBS came from a desire to empower young people through education of their rights and the emotional impacts of climate change.
BYBS’s digital content is developed in light of the most up-to-date, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary sciences. and through youth participatory processes.
To defeat the climate change boss.
To prepare young people across the globe for the ultimate fight against climate change.
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.
Digital Artist & Art Director
Andrea Mancuso Digital Artist & Art Director
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.
Managing Director. Neuroscience of gaming and narrative designer.
Sebastiano Pocchi Managing Director. Neuroscience of gaming and narrative designer.
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.
Music Production, Sound Engineering
Leonardo D’Angiulli Music Production, Sound Engineering
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 graduated from the Audio Production & Engineering program at Metalworks Institute in Mississauga, Ontario. Before his work at BYBS and his enrolment 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.
Lead Game Developer
Akash Roy Lead Game Developer
Akash Roy is a passionate Game Developer with a focus on Computer Graphics and Game Engines. He aims to create captivating experiences and dreams of establishing his own innovative Game Engine in the gaming industry. He has an impressive portfolio, contributing to various game projects, including a significant military venture for the USA and an MMORPG game. Akash is a distinguished member of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and leads the Unreal Engine Indore chapter in India. He also mentors aspiring game developers and offers free guidance.
Akash’s impact extends internationally, as he serves as a respected jury member for Game4Change, using gaming for social impact. He conducts training sessions for Animation, Games, Film, and Corporate studios, sharing his expertise and fostering growth in the industry. Akash Roy’s journey showcases his commitment to innovation in game development, inspiring the global gaming landscape.
Web Developer & Digital Designer
Francesco Chilardi Web Developer & Digital Designer
Web Developer & Digital Designer
Francesco Chilardi is a graphic and web designer with a passion for video games and photography. He was born in the city of Siracusa, Italy, in 1993. From an early age, Francesco had an innate sense of creativity, and it was evident that he had a natural talent for design.
After completing his high school education, Francesco decided to pursue his love for art and design by enrolling in the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania, Italy. Here, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, which laid the foundation for his career as a designer. During his time at the Academy, Francesco honed his skills in various areas of design, including web design, branding, and visual communication.
Francesco decided to continue his education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Communication Design. This program has allowed him to further develop his skills and explore new areas of design.
When he’s not busy working on design projects or attending classes, Francesco loves to immerse himself in the world of video games. In addition to gaming, Francesco is also passionate about photography, and he enjoys taking pictures of landscapes and nature.
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.
In memory of The Hon. Landon Pearson
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.
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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