Judy Patina and Family
Good evening. I am incredibly honoured and grateful to have been awarded the Patina Prize. I imagine that your family was presented with amazing candidates, all of whom are incredibly deserving, and I feel truly humbled to be receiving such a prestigious award. I had the distinct privilege of meeting Mr. Patina several years ago, and was touched by his positive spirit and his passion for the DAREarts foundation, and I am thrilled to be joining a remarkable list of students who have been recognized in past years as recipients of this great prize.
As of April 2018, I successfully completed my Honours Bachelor’s of Arts at the University of Toronto, where I studied International Development Studies (with a focus on Gender and Health and Socio-cultural Anthropology). This goal could not have been realized without the unwavering support of my family – who has joined me tonight), and of outstanding organizations like the DAREarts Foundation. I graduated from the DAREarts’ All the Arts Program in 2009, and have remained in close contact with the organization since then. I feel as though I am part of a strong family of educators, innovators and creatives who consistently advocate for the use of experiential learning and engaged pedagogies to promote the overall well-being and success of youth across Canada. I strongly believe in the work DAREarts does, and I am beyond honoured to be one of the youth recognized at this year’s Leadership Awards Ceremony.
Furthermore, as a member of the Caribbean diaspora, (born in Canada to immigrant parents) I experientially understand that poverty is rooted in inequity. My lived experiences are part of a larger discussion about the intricacies of injustice, and the way it is entangled with identity. In spite of this, I have managed to work part-time, achieve a GPA of 3.70 in my final year, and have been named to the Dean’s List every year while completing my undergraduate degree. Additionally, I will be the first person in my family to complete an undergraduate degree, and to go on to graduate studies – which I will begin in September.
Once again, I am appreciative of the Patina Family for selecting me as the recipient of your scholarship. I am touched to receive your support in my post-secondary endeavors. It is such an amazing emotion for me personally to know that there are always these networks of support out there actively assisting students in their educational pursuits. Thank you!
Thank you, Ms. King, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and DAREarts.
Growing up with anxiety has been my greatest struggle. DAREarts has influenced my life in a positive light. I’ve wanted to perform on stage for a very long time, however I was never presented the option. On the first day of DAREarts, my plan was to stay in the background for as long as I could, but that plan failed terribly. I was often dared to step out of my comfort zone. It was scary, but empowering.
Over the last few days of the program, I created an original poem for the final DAREarts performance. The poem is titled, “Anxiety” and was based upon my personal struggles. I never thought I’d be able to ever perform my original content on a stage. My mind screamed, “Danger!” Yet, DAREarts encouraged me so much that I did what I thought was the impossible.
When I was on stage I was struck with fear. However, as I moved through my performance, I gained confidence, in spite of my anxieties. Once I had completed my performance, the crowd roared with applause, and my heart swelled with pride. If only for a moment, I had conquered the demon that had held me prisoner.
After the performance, I heard a lot of positive feedback. For the first time in what felt like forever I didn’t regret what I had done. I now write poems based upon the challenges others face, and I’m always trying to remember how there’s no such thing as perfect.
DAREarts taught me to use my inner leader to make a positive difference around me. I see my classmates who are struggling, and I try my best to not stay quiet. Even if I don’t talk to someone frequently, I always try to reassure them that they're going to be alright. When they’re response is negative I still try to help.
The leadership criteria which describes me the best is accepting others for being themselves, and constantly showing cooperation and concern for others. I accept others for who they are because I know everyone is different, both mind and body. I obviously, never thought I was perfect so I have no right into ever judge others.
My long term goal is to simply think positive. It has always been a struggle for most of my life, and I don’t want to live like that forever. I’ll keep replacing a negative thoughts with a reassuring thoughts, because I know that all negativity can be turned around into a positive. It will be a daily struggle, but it is definitely a battle I feel ready to face.
It reminds you of all the things you fear. Giving you reasons to run. Wishing you could disappear. Words cutting deeply in your skin releasing forbidden tears. Knowing there dripping down your cheeks scare you. It’s one of your fears. For you remember learning as a child that crying represents weakness. So you grew up as a ship in a hurricane above a pitch black sea of irrational fears and thoughts. This ship being thrown each direction until your vision is accompanied by black dots. For some reason no matter what you do it won't stop and it won’t stop and you don't know what to do. Weeks to months you feel as if you’re in a void. Then you realize you’re alone and there’s no friend for you. And you just need a moment to breathe. There are always an unexpected day. Where you feel no harm can come. It feels like it all just went away. You found your place. You found your friends. You found your space. So in the inside you need to think, just for a moment you’re thinking... This is not the end. You can just feel yourself sinking... We just have to keep believing there’s more good to come. You see, we all just have to learn to cope. It’s difficult, trust me I know. Yet someday I know you’ll once again learn how to have hope.
Good evening everyone and thank you Mr. Muzaffar and TD. Growing up I was extremely shy. I found it difficult to speak up in social situations and was terrified of public speaking - and might be even right now because you are my largest audience to date. If someone told me back then that I would be here tonight, I would not have believed them. During my years with DAREarts, I was challenged to try different mediums including acting. This gave me a chance to perform in front of a group and an opportunity to learn communication in a fun and engaging way. What allowed me to overcome my nerves was the safe learning environment DAREarts creates for its students. It helped me to relax and gave me courage to take risks - to DARE. Confidence is a skill that I still struggle with, but one I am constantly challenging myself to improve on. This is why for me, this award has been a journey that started when I was told I had been chosen as a recipient. I have learned to be proud of myself and to not be afraid to share my accomplishments. So even now, as an alumni, I am still learning through DAREarts, and embracing opportunities to grow because it is not actually about learning art; art is a gateway to developing personal skills and this is how DAREarts is able to help so many youth: by providing them access to the arts and ultimately creating leaders. In 2014 I took the leadership tool kit DAREarts provided me and started my own karate school at the Miles Nadal JCC, where I get the chance to pass on what I have learned to a whole new generation. Also, I am currently applying for MBA programs so I can follow my passion for leadership to a professional level. In the past, I never wanted to stand out, I never wanted attention on me. But now I see that when you have been able to achieve something, people will want to celebrate with you and the spotlight can be a positive thing. I am forever grateful to DAREarts for helping me navigate a difficult period in my life. I am proud to say I am a part of such a wonderful community of people, who make a difference every day. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my family for being here tonight and in particular my mom who has never missed a DAREarts event. You are my rock and I love you. Thank you.
Raised in Kenya by his grandma, aunties and uncles, Omar is now 16 years old and attends North Albion Collegiate Institute in Rexdale.
His mother tongue is Swahili so English as a 2nd language made it difficult to learn while attending school in Toronto.
As a DAREarts delegate, Omar made new friends, became adept with his social skills and frequently advised his friends with decision making.
Currently living in Toronto with his mom, dad and older brother, Omar’s long-term goal is to be an architect, work in construction, or join the military. By travelling the world, he will have an opportunity to use the DAREarts values and help those in need.
Good evening, everyone. Thank you, Ms. Thai and Scotiabank.
When I was growing up, I was constantly in a place of doubt. I hadn’t met my father till the age of 4, when I came to Canada with the rest of my family. For the next 10 years, I would come face to face with my life’s tyrant. For years, I was experiencing emotional and physical abuse from my father and seeing awful things happen at home.
School was my oasis, I was a very outgoing kid, I had a lot of friends, and I was also very smart. As I grew older I began admitting to myself more openly that my father was not someone who I respected. Afraid to say this to him, I displayed my rejection of him by educating myself on social justice.
For as long as I can think, my sister has raised me. Although she’s only 5 years older than me, she’s been a strong woman for most of her life. Due to the lack of sensible adults in our lives, I grew a mistrust towards them, until I started DAREarts. The teachers in the program transformed that trust completely. I was finally meeting adults who truly wanted the best for kids, who showed us that our lives didn’t lead to dead ends. Receiving this award means that there are people out there who care for kids, and the future. Programs like DAREarts are essential in a society where so many children are left to fend for themselves. This program has provided me with support systems that last longer than just 4 years.
For many years I’ve had this pit of anger growing inside of me for the person that my father is. I now realize that I can’t fall in his footsteps and let anger drive my life. I can’t change the people in my life. I’m only able to adapt to what comes my way. That is one thing that DAREarts has taught me that’s stuck with me. As we like to say, we go with the flow. You can’t do it without the hand motions.
Going into grade 12, I’ve been considering studying water ecology. I’d like to share with you a neat fact about sea cucumbers. Although they’re quite ugly, sea cucumbers live their lives eating things that no other animal wants and what they expel is cleaner than what they take in. These creatures go about making things better than how they found it, and in this way; I think we can all learn from them. Thank you, and enjoy the rest of your evening.
Booshoo, My name is Tyler Shewaybick. Thank you Kaitlyn Ferris and Noront Resources. I would also like to thank Ms. Laura MacKinnon the Lead Teacher of DAREarts in Ontario, Ms. Marilyn Field the Founder of DAREarts, musician Glenn Marais and Shelley Macdonald, DAREarts’ Lead Teacher in British Columbia and everyone at DAREarts for this award I am receiving tonight.
When I was in elementary school, I was bullied everyday in class. I was called names because I was attending my classes everyday without missing any days in school. I was teased a lot because I was in the highest level of learning. My peers would call me a "School Boy" because I was learning fast and attending everyday and didn't go with the people that were doing bad things and causing trouble. It is tough living in a reservation because there are only minimum courses offered in high school, because there are only 5 high school teachers in Webequie. When I was in Grade 6, I was done being teased and getting bullied. I stood up for myself and gained more confidence to finish high school.
I became part of DAREarts when I was in Grade 8. We made a black light performance for the whole community. The props we used were made out of cardboard and special paint that we can see in the black lights. We told our own story using animal puppets such as a bunny, big foot, birds, eagle and others. The late Cathy Elliott helped us make these props and puppets - she was a nice person. I gained a lot of confidence working with DAREarts to continue my education and become a good role model for younger kids.
I am a leader at school, and also in my community. I became involved with the Junior Canadian Ranger program when I was 12 years old. The Junior Canadian Ranger Program has showed me a lot of leadership skills. The Program is run by the Canadian Armed Forces, and they organize a camp every July in Green Stone, Ontario. There are over 12,000 Junior Canadian Rangers across Canada. In the program we go out in nature and do activities such as learning survival skills, making smoke signals, operating chain saws, and other activities that we can do to show leadership in our community.
I volunteer in my community and am the Youth Liaison for an upcoming documentary project. In the future, I want to be a pilot. As I work towards this goal, DAREarts will always be a part of my life no matter what because I am Disciplined, I take Action, I take Responsibility, Respect and Reflect and I strive for Excellence.
I would like to say Kitchi-Meegweetch to my parents for encouraging me to show leadership and for me take action for my community and once again thank you to all of you for listening to me. Meegweetch!
Hi, my name is Aidan Soostar I would like to thank Mr. LeBlanc, Northbridge Insurance, and everyone at DAREarts for this award. In Grade 2 I was identified as dyslexic. I was teased because I wasn't reading at the same level as my peers. I would ask my teachers a lot more questions than the other students. I was picked on so much that I finally stopped asking questions. By the time I got to middle school, I had lost all my confidence.
In grade 8 I became part of the DAREarts family. I had no idea what to expect and was feeling very nervous that first day. I quickly realized that it was a safe environment that let me be me. My parents noticed a change in my attitude right away. They said that each week I got a little more confident.
I went to DAREarts camp that summer and played Will Shakespeare in the play Shakespeare in Love. The staff worked with me so I could learn my lines. I gained so much confidence that summer. Having a learning disability doesn't mean I'm not smart. It just means that I learn differently. I am not embarrassed by it anymore and DAREarts has a lot to do with that.
Amal's words were punctuated by a stutter. She rarely spoke, and held herself back from opportunities to avoid embarrassment. At DAREarts, she began to see her own potential during group discussions. Despite her fear, she could see that her words carried value. At the end of her first year, she stood in front of an audience of 500 and spoke without a single pause: “I used to be shy, but here I am. Look at me now!”
Kaitlyn lives in the fly-in only Aboriginal community of Webequie. Difficulties at home, peer pressure, drug abuse and language barriers caused her to struggle in school. With each passing day at DAREarts, her confidence in herself, her teachers, her community and her peers grew. During DAREarts, she spoke a language that she was passionate about and fluent in - the language of art. When asked what she thought of her painting, she responded: ”I am proud.”
At 13 years-old, Joey had trouble finding her voice in a large class surrounded by outspoken females and enthusiastic male athletes. As DAREarts progressed, she began to find her niche, no longer a shadow on the wall. After her final performance in front of 60 strangers, there was a Q&A period. It became obvious that the students were not as confident answering questions from strangers as they were in the classroom. Joey saved the day. She began fielding the questions with confidence and humour, as if she'd been doing it her whole life. She even started appointing different students to answer questions like a true leader. An amazing transformation which she continued to build upon throughout the remainder of the year, en route to winning the Citizenship award!
Griffin is a bright, curious and energetic young person with autism. New experiences and social settings can be daunting and challenging for him to navigate, but DAREarts provided the nurturing environment he needed. With support, he overcame the challenges of meeting new people, trying new art forms and visiting new places to grow into a more courageous leader, artist and person.
Seeing specialists for years for his anger issues, Elijah often shut down with a blank stare and was unwilling to talk. DAREarts artist Alan Syliboy instantly recognized Elijah's unique artistic talent and spent extra time with him. Elijah was deeply moved. When he didn’t think anyone was watching, a huge smile of pride lit his face. Later, when he had difficulty sharing with the group, he shed tears and excused himself. He came back seeking Alan’s autograph, full of a newfound confidence. His teachers and guardians are now seeking art therapy for him, after witnessing the power of art in healing his emotional issues.
My teachers thought I needed a confidence boost. “I am the youngest student ever on my school’s council! I showed my principal what I was learning at DAREarts and now I have all the right qualifications!”
Jeffery lacked discipline and spoke whatever was on his mind. At DAREarts, he waited patiently for his turn. “I really didn’t think that I was able to be self-disciplined. I surprised myself… and my mom!” Jeffery
Brenda came to DAREarts with dangerously low self-esteem and a poor self-image. She was terrified on her first day. At DAREarts, she soon experienced the joy of trying new things in a supportive environment and found the courage to celebrate her individuality. "I know now that I am Excellent."
Not every child is lucky enough to have a safe and supportive environment at school and at home. Justin arrived at DAREarts with downcast eyes and a shy demeanor. However, over the past two years, he has blossomed in the program. Through uplifting experiences in dance, drama, visual art and music, he found a way to express himself and had the chance to feel valued and powerful.
At school, in grade 5 Charlie had experienced vicious bullying, beyond name-calling. At DAREarts, he has learned to be strong. The bullying hasn’t stopped, but he has learned to stand up for himself and have internalized the DARE values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence. Through DAREarts, I have discovered that I am a leader.
“Because of DAREarts I am more of a leader and more confident in myself. Learning how to be a leader was great because I finally got pushed to my limit. The most interesting part of it for me was the support coming from the DAREarts teachers. In one word, DAREarts is outstanding!” Partnering with Vancouver Opera, DAREarts knows that if we introduce the arts to children early enough, then they will carry a sense of wonder, a love of learning and an inner strength throughout their lives.
Javier had been severely bullied at his school. He broke down sobbing as he shared his story at DAREarts. Another boy put his arm around his shoulder and said how he admired him for having the courage to speak up and lead the way. "At DAREarts, I found courage, hope and a place to belong."
Michael is in grade 5. Despite trying hard to make friends at school, He “was invisible to others,” and was bullied when he tried to share his love of acting and comedy. At DAREarts, he found the strength to share his sense of humour and a community of other kids that accept him with open arms.
“The skill that I think I will use most in the future is interacting with other people. Because of DAREarts I’m not that silent around strangers anymore. I learned that by being a leader I can help a lot of people. Everything at DAREarts is very interesting, especially making new friends.” For three years now, Grade 6 and 7 students in downtown eastside Vancouver have dedicated their time to DAREarts, a program focused on using the arts to instill leadership skills using the principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence.
Jante habitually hid in the bathroom and didn’t speak. He distanced himself from everyone. At DAREarts, he found his passion for dance, voluntarily performing in front of his peers with flawless moves. In his final DAREarts year, he was confident enough to show others who he was, making many friends. He guided DAREarts newcomers on how to handle being nervous. Jante now enjoys being an example for others. “DAREarts has shown me that the potential to be a leader resides in everyone.”
T-Rence came to Canada from St. Lucia. At DAREarts, he was a great participator but a speech impediment made him hesitant to speak. In his first year, he received a DAREarts t-shirt. He wore that t-shirt like a team jersey every single day through the following year. In his third year, he was given a special dare to speak on behalf of his peers. After years of struggling to communicate, he spoke on stage in front hundreds of strangers with the pride of being his team’s captain.
When Tai started DAREarts he had a difficulty focusing and getting himeself involved with his peers. He struggled to finish tasks, keep attention to lessons and remain attentive. He soon realized that he needed to direct his energy into movement and by making short-term goals. Through inner discipline and self-regulation he found a means to be able to learn and experience what previously was a daily struggle.
Jasper showed keen interest every day at DAREarts by constantly using the DARE values and routines, and also with his peers at school. He reminded his fellow delegates every time they got on the bus in the mornings if they had everything they needed on their responsibility check list without prompt. "What I like best about DAREarts overall was when we would go over the DARE values: Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence!"
I spoke rarely. With DAREarts, I shone on stage and voluntarily took on leadership roles that celebrated my voice. I moved from silence to a gentle roar, finding that I had a safe place and my voice mattered.
‘OH MS. MS. MS. I KNOW THE ANSWER!’ Vikesh constantly yelled across the classroom. Vikesh in grade four struggled with self-regulating his impulses and actions. But with DAREarts’ habitual routine, he began to learn how to limit his outbursts. When he returned to DAREarts for grade five, he channeled his energy into a simple gesture that reminds him to keep calm and be patient. Vikesh continues to show leadership through his self-disciplining and sharing so that his peers can step up to the plate too.
“We learned the difference between being a loud leader and a leader that leads by example. We learned how to be both. DAREarts shows you all the steps to being a leader and they help you through them. It was an amazing adventure.” For three years now, Grade 6 and 7 students in downtown eastside Vancouver have dedicated their time to DAREarts, a program focused on using the arts to instill leadership skills using the principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence.
Bery was uncertain about speaking out loud for fear that she would sound ‘bossy’ or that people would criticize her. One day at DAREarts, she needed to take action and lead on her group’s work. She directed her team through a successful team activity and found that, instead of negative reactions, she received a rush of support and appreciation from those around her. Now she can speak and be a guiding voice.
Alex is an extremely timid and quiet individual. He often doesn't insert himself into activities like his peers at DAREarts and at school. On dance day he struggles with learning the movements and vocally informed DAREarts that he didn’t know how to move in such a way. His tenacity and commitment to keep up with his fellow delegates inspired others to follow him in his perseverance to try to replicate the choreography given. This tenacity was reflected in everything he did and continued on in the following days at program, and was positively contagious to his peers. "Being a leader made me feel like a king!"
“Because of DAREarts I am different. I am more focused on my work and I am disciplined. My heart feels full.” For three years now, Grade 6 and 7 students in downtown eastside Vancouver have dedicated their time to DAREarts, a program focused on using the arts to instill leadership skills using the principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence.
Gabriel came to DAREarts in grade five. She expressed that she didn’t have many friends at school and was often bullied. A year later, she had a happier demeanor and a better outlook towards going to school and being social. She was able to find a small group of friends who had similar interests and respected her as an equal. She learned that friends should value who you are.
The Grade 7–9 students in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, dedicated a week to DAREarts, focusing on the DAREarts principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence, along with the Seven Grandfather Teachings. In five days, the children sketched and painted; created their own puppets; brainstormed a collaborative story, “The Nothing Man;” composed and recorded their own song, “MelKiknoti, Courage;” and proudly showcased their creative works for their community.
Nikolaos arrived in Canada two years ago from Greece. At school, he was a bully to his classmates. He expressed himeself through aggression and was influenced by negative individuals. At DAREarts, he articulated his thoughts and feelings in discussions and took responsibilities seriously. He felt that DAREarts was a safe gateway from what he experienced outside of the program. “At DAREarts I could make new friends and this is like my dream vacation.”
ATTAWAPISKAT FN – Jack Linklater Jr., 17 “We are able to tell our own stories. Bringing out our identity is important. There is hope and we all matter. I want to go to University and study Indigenous Health and Wellness because I want to help my community.”
“I felt a sense of belonging at DAREarts. I feel loved and everybody belongs in our circle. I look at discipline in a new way. I used to think the museum was boring but I changed my mind.”
“DAREarts has made me step out of my comfort zone and be a confident person. I like that I’m not afraid to be myself and am able to open up to new experiences.” Partnering with the Vancouver Opera, DAREarts knows that if we introduce the arts to children early enough, then they will carry a sense of wonder, a love of learning and an inner strength throughout their lives.
In the fly-in only Aboriginal community of Webequie, my incredible musical skill on guitar suffered from my lack of self-confidence. Despite my ability to play brilliantly, I shied away from compliments and stuck to cover songs. When DAREarts gave me the push to compose an original melody and harmonies to accompany the lyrics the class wrote together, I rose to the occasion and blew everyone away with my unique and catchy style. I stepped out of my shell with my head held high, guitar in hand.
Machyi was often in trouble. At DAREarts he learned to deal with his temper and was elected class leader. “DAREarts makes me want to be a better leader.”
“I learned how to be more of a leader by helping, taking charge, going where I’m needed etc. I got to draw and I like to draw; and I also got to work with people I’ve never worked with before.” Partnering with the Vancouver Opera, DAREarts knows that if we introduce the arts to children early enough, then they will carry a sense of wonder, a love of learning and an inner strength throughout their lives.
“DAREarts is like life training. I’m using everything you teach me now, but when I go into high school and college… Oh boy, I can’t even imagine never being in DAREarts.”
Leaving his British Columbia aboriginal community to live in Vancouver left twelve year old Taran disorientated and struggling. After two hours of DAREarts, he cussed at the teacher and left. They later discussed how Taran was at “the part in the movie where the good guy decides to be good and returns.” The values of DARE were held up as a map to make his “superstar comeback,” after which he rose to every occasion. Taran spoke on behalf all 50 students about DAREarts being “an awesome mother.”
Trenton, 18, “When DAREarts came to Webequie, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t think DAREarts was for me. I sat there quietly to listen to what they had to say. What stood out to me the most was moccasin making. It made me wonder if it’s the same way Webequie makes moccasins, so I stayed a little longer. I thought I was going to finish them in three days. But I made mistakes the first two days. I wanted to quit. The instructor said that he’ll be here in the evenings so I went there to catch up. I didn’t finish my muks in two weeks. The following week, the teacher asked me what I want to do and I replied, “I want to finish my muks.” Almost a month later I finished my mukluks. I don’t know how many times I started over from the mistakes I made, but I told myself I was going to finish them. Discipline, Action, Respect and Excellence: remembering these teachings from DAREarts taught me a new lesson in life: “If you fall down you can always get back up stronger. ”
Jocelyn, 12, and thirty fellow Webequie teens were challenged by DAREarts to create their own movie. They experienced every aspect of filmmaking from story development, site preparation, props, costumes, acting and shooting. They had to learn patience, concentration and respect for each other. The whole community responded enthusiastically to the teens’ movie, seeing their community through their children’s eyes.