JNP Project opens in Annapolis to boost kids’ self esteem

JNPProjectDonaWBy Betsy Stein

Parents worried about their kids' self esteem and the amount of bullying these days, take heart. There's a new business celebrating a grand opening today in Annapolis that hopes to make a difference.

The JNP Project is opening its storefront today at 126 West Street in the Loews Hotel Building. The project — which stands for Jane Not Plain — was developed to help kids find their self-worth as they grow. It is launching a series of books geared toward kids ages 5 to 12 to help them find their "inner awesome," says Dona Rudderow Sturn, founder of the project.

"Children are not taught at a young age how to become empowered," Rudderow Sturn says. "The tween and teen years are too late; the issues of bullying and suicide have already started. The JNP Project addresses self-confidence at a very early age. That is our mission."

This is the second go round for Jane Not Plain. It first launched about 10 years ago and was received well, but hit a few snags. Rudderow Sturn has been working for the past two years on the new JNP Project and has launched the first three books in a multi-book series titled "Jane & Jake's Adventures to Awesome."

The book series introduces Jane and Jake, two elementary school-aged kids, and a not so average goldfish, Oracle. So far, three books have been released: "The Journey Begins: The Prequel Story," "Awesome Truth" and "Awesome Kindness." The first series of ultimately 10 books will focus on the core values — truth, kindness, harmony, forgiveness, giving, love, determination, compassion, strength and character. Two other series will follow, she says.

Rudderow Sturn has assembled a team of diverse writers and professionals to collaborate on the project. The books follow the adventures of Jane, Jake and Oracle, and each of the core value books has three endings, each from a different character's perspective. The reader can decide which ending he or she likes best. In the stories, Jane is illustrated as a blank canvas and sometimes her inner colors show outwardly.

"I am a mother of four, and when I was raising my kids in the '90s there was nothing on the market like this. There's nothing on the market like this now," Rudderow Sturn says. "I think, still to this day, I am teaching them core values and what I think humans should be ... truthful, kind, harmonious, giving, forgiving, loving ... That's the JNP Project's mission, the core values. We call this our inner awesome."

The need for such a series rang home recently when a mom banged on the door of The JNP Project's storefront, which had not opened yet. She wanted to buy the books for her 18-year-old son who has self esteem issues. "She didn't care that the books are for kids," Rudderow Sturn says.

Look out for boomerangs

As part of the grand opening, Rudderow Sturn is also launching a "Boomerang It" campaign. She is going to distibute 300 boomerangs and is asking people to do an inspiring act and pass the boomerang on. Once the act has been completed, she wants people to log the boomerang number onto the JNP website along with the act and who did it.

"I want to see how far the boomerangs get and the effect they can have," Rudderow Sturn says. "It's just an awareness campaign. All of this brings awareness to kids empowerment and their self esteem."

The whole point is to educated kids younger.

"Confident children grow into strong leaders as adults," she says.

To learn more about the books, visit the JNP Project website. The books can also be downloaded from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Google Play.