Local self-help author hoping to reach children with the latest book

Tammie Leonard poses with her latest book. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Tammie Leonard hoping to inspire children to discover their self-worth

Tammie Leonard has written books to help women overcome hardships. She’s written daily motivational and gratitude books for women and a book on vision planning.

Now, the Prince Albert-based self-help author is turning her attention to helping children.

“Everyone matters,” she said, “youth especially. They are our leaders coming up, so we want to give them as much power as possible.”

Leonard was inspired to write her latest book, CHOICES, a yearly student success planner, because of what she saw as a teacher. Prior to launching her motivation and consulting business, Leonard worked as a teacher for 31 years.

“As a teacher, I saw that we have a real crisis on our hands, and it’s an epidemic of lack of self-worth and a negative mindset with our students,” she said.

“I knew that if I could give them more tools, they would have a better chance fixing those day-to-day problems they come across, not just in school, but in life in general.”

The daily planner/program moves students through a range of mental wellness, educational and motivational activities. It is designed with artwork, curriculum connections and tools to help students “develop habits that lead to creating a positive mindset for self and others,” read a handout provided to the Daily Herald.

The handout outlines some of the things the planner includes, such as links to YouTube videos, meditation, monthly and daily goal setting and action plans, affirmations, mindset activities and more.

CHOICES has been adopted by SUNTEP, some Saskatchewan Rivers School Division schools, schools in Saskatoon and in Alberta, and in two youth facilities.

“The response has been fantastic,” she said. “I call it my tiny, mad idea. I started with one school division, and from that and word of mouth it reached people,” she said.

“I am very pleased with what has become of that tiny, mad idea.”

Leonard said she read dozens of books, took training courses and drew on her own experiences battling anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia (defined as anxiety about being in places or situations in which escape might be difficult or help might not be available in the event of having a panic attack, described by Leonard as fear of everything).

She wrote the book in the style of what she describes as “chatting daily with them in their ear.”

Several sections of the planner include the idea of positive affirmations and of expressing gratitude.

“Gratitude does wonders for our self-esteem,” Leonard said.

“And the affirmations. It’s true that what we tell our subconscious mind is what we believe. We need to feed ourselves positive thoughts, and that’s a big part of the affirmations.”

Leonard said she hopes the books help kids realize that they matter, and gives them tools to deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm and more.

“I hope … our youth will realize how much value they hold, and their worth and that they have the power to face the crazy challenges they face now,” Leonard said.

“Things in there might tweak something for someone to help somebody else. What really needs to come through with all youth is that they matter, and there is always someone they can reach out to, there is always something they can do, and that they are responsible for themselves as well.”