Creating positivity: Deck the Stalls

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Positive reinforcement can mean the world to someone struggling, especially to those with a mental illness. With a new project being put together by local organization Dream Candy, local high school students will receive the boost of confidence and positivity that they might need to make it through a tough day — all from a bathroom stall.

The idea to do the project locally came about when Jennifer Smees of Jennifer Smees Photography told Deelle Hines of Dream Candy about a similar project she had come across in a Facebook post call Paint for Positivity that takes place in Ontario.

“Oh my God, I love this,” Hines said was her first reaction when she heard about the project. Dream Candy, as an organization, works to help build self-esteem, confidence and the tools to help yourself, set goals, achieve them and more. Naturally, a positivity project for youth was a perfect fit for the organization.

“Why the bathroom? When people are having a bad day that’s where you go, it’s a regrouping area,” said Smees.

Hines added that the repeated exposure to positivity and positive words helps them sink in more for youth. The hope is that the project will help prevent the onset of youth mental illness, something that Dream Candy addresses in regular programming.

After hearing of the project, Hines contacted two local artists who attend the organization to help out with the project.

“We thought it was cool instantly; we didn’t have to think about it,” said Christina MacLeod who, along with Gordie MacDonald, will be working on the bathroom stall painting. The project so far is taking place in North Nova Education Centre and Northumberland Regional High School over the summer so the painting will be there for students when they return to school in the fall.

“Humans are naturally aspirational beings, who look up to role models and leaders. Positive quotes that use strong imagery appeal to our aspirational nature and can play a meaningful and powerful role in changing youth’s thinking and helping them see the strength within themselves to overcome life’s challenges,” according to information on the project that Dream Candy has put out.

For those interested in helping out with the project monetary donations can be made in person or via email transfer to or gofundme at

Material donations like paint, brushes, rollers, markers, tarps and sandpaper are also of use for the project. Volunteers are also needed for the project and anyone wanting to help with any part of the process or other schools interested can contact Hines at the email above or by calling 902-301-0078.

From left, Camilla MacDonald of Dream Candy, Jennifer Smees, Christina MacLeod, Gordie MacDonald and Deelle Hines of Dream Candy look through a book of vinyl samples that they will use for quotes on mirrors. (Brimicombe photo)