My Heart is my Boss
For many young people, school provides a constant supply of stress: homework, projects, and tests. But academic pressures usually pale in comparison to children's worries about social situations and relationships.
Enter Rachel Weinstock - aka Ms. Rainbow Fairy - to the rescue.
An inspirational speaker, an award-winning educator, and a multi-talented artist, Rachel has spent more than 15 years empowering school communities to create safe and inclusive spaces for young people.
In the summer of 2020, Rachel launched the Pre-Teen Club - an online community for people aged 11-14. Each week, the group joined a video session to engage in meaningful conversations and participate in fun activities. Due to the positive response from families, Rachel continued the program throughout the fall and then offered two more Pre-Teen Club groups in January 2021.
On April 15, Disco co-founder Candice Faktor welcomed Rachel for a lively discussion about passion projects, social platforms, and learning experiences.
When speaking about her motivation to organize the Pre-Teen Club, Rachel articulated her belief in using personal values as a guide for professional decisions. As she poetically framed the idea: "my heart is my boss."
Without question, Rachel has a big heart. She has big dreams, too, as you'll learn in this 1-minute clip from her Disco Creator Session.
Pursuing New Adventures
Before the pandemic, Rachel earned a reputation as a dynamic presenter of interactive workshops that focused on bullying prevention, creative expression, and respectful inclusion. She delivered sessions for both students and educators, across Canada and internationally.
In March 2020, though, her world changed:
When COVID hit, my entire livelihood as both a substitute teacher and a workshop presenter was suddenly paused. I tried to remember that during the Depression and war times, people struggled but found creative ways to keep going. So I decided not to give myself a second to be sad or cry. I went back to the drawing board. I pivoted and built an online community.
A business coach helped Rachel set up the digital tools for the first Pre-Teen Club cohort. After a few iterations of the program, she has refined some logistical details:
Cohort size: A maximum of 24 participants ensures that every child has time to feel seen and heard.
Schedule: The Pre-Teen Club meets one evening per week, for a period of 12 weeks. The duration of the program helps nurture genuine relationships between the participants.
Sessions: Each meeting lasts for 2.5 hours - that's longer than many cohort-based classes, but Rachel's energetic persona holds participants' attention for the entire time.
Check out Rachel's introductory message for people interested in Pre-Teen Club:
Three Tips for Growing a Community
Social Proof. Pre-Teen Club builds on Rachel's existing profile as an educator and mentor. By leveraging testimonials from both children and adults, she can demonstrate people's positive experiences with her programs.
Share your unique voice. Rachel set a goal for 2021: release a new video every single day. The breadth of her content gives people a clear sense of her authenticity as an advocate and ally.
Engage and contribute. When Rachel realized that her core audience loves TikTok, she joined the video-centric social platform. To gain traction, she began commenting on people's posts and participating in conversations.
We are delighted that Pre-Teen Club will be one of the early live learning courses to launch on Disco!
Watch the full session with Rachel here: