The photo of Arnie and his bell was taken during our research trip to Cobalt, Ontario in 2007. This historic bell used to hang above Arnie’s elementary school signaling the start of each school day. “This was the bell I used to ring for all the kids to come to school. They would come running and I would go fishing.” Arnie was proud to stand with his bell looking off in the distance towards the future. I said, “Arnie, this is you at the helm of a ship.” He smiled, “It’s the literacy ship and I just hope I’m steering it in the right direction.”
This photo was used on Arnie cards including Arnie’s mantra, “Always ask for help.” Thousands of these cards were given to children and adults during our work together. We encouraged audiences to ask for help by writing their name on the back and leaving the card on the teacher’s desk. Students used the cards as paper courage to receive assistance with academics and personal matters. The Arnie Cards made it possible for students and parents to get the help they needed without being afraid.
Today, the Arnie cards have become a symbol of hope and courage. Arnie’s last words to me, “Remind the kids to always ask for help and never to be afraid.”