DAREarts Vancouver Day 1: Our Silent Voices Sing Britannia 2017

dar1715The 2017 DAREarts Vancouver program has begun! From January 20th to 26th, the grade 7s at Britannia Elementary School will be working with DAREarts’ team of artist-educators to ignite their inner leadership. Here is a report on the first day from Lead Teacher Shelley MacDonald:

Today 25 students from Britannia Elementary with their teacher Justin Borsato gathered together at Britannia Secondary School to celebrate and explore leadership skills through the arts.  Of these 25 students, 10 went through the DAREarts program last year and Lead Teacher Shelley dared them right away to step up and mentor the new students to the program. “Go where you are needed!  If you see someone that needs some help and encouragement go to them.  We are a team! We are community!”

the-gift-photo-dareThis is a very special group who constantly showed discipline, took action, were responsible, reflective, respectful and demonstrated excellence throughout the entire day.  This was especially noticeable while the students watched Guest Artist John Aitken perform his life story with Lead Teacher Shelley MacDonald.  “The Gift” is the story of John’s life and the challenging experiences he had growing up as one of the only Aboriginal Families on Mayne Island.  John lost both his parents by the time he was 13 and didn’t speak until the age of 18.  The Gift is 45 mins in length and is always followed by a talking circle where audience members ask questions and share comments about the performance.  John shared that of all of the talking circles that he has been in after the performance, the DAREarts Britannia students asked the most questions and offered some really good medicine.  DAREarts student Zane told John, “Thank you for your courage, Thank you for your story.”  DAREarts student Ione, who just started speaking herself for the first time this year wrote “I thought today was really exciting and John is extremely talented.  Thank you for sharing your story!”

dar1712After lunch, Artist-Educator Lori Sherritt-Flemming led the students through some powerful writing and movement exercises exploring moments in their life when they felt voiceless.  This poignant writing that they created will be used as part of the lyrics they will create for their spoken word/song that they will put to music on Tuesday with Guest musician/composer Kurt Von Hahn.  Our Video and Photography mentor Roy Mulder also led the students through a photo/video scavenger hunt where students took photos that represented the DAREarts values and the themes of the Gift.  The students are pumped and excited that they got to explore their leadership skills through so many different art forms on day one.

dar172One of the students wrote:

“DAREarts exceeded my expectations!  I had so much fun and I am really excited for the rest of the week!”

Another wrote:

“Fantastic and Excited!”

Photos courtesy Roy Mulder.

DAREarts is a children’s charity that uses the arts to empower at-risk young people to become leaders. Our lead supporters are Northbridge Insurance, Scotiabank, and TD Bank Group. Supporters of this DAREarts Vancouver program are ArtStarts and Parker Art Salon. We would like to give special thanks to Presentation House and to Britannia Elementary and Secondary Schools.

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