Ringing in the New Year with Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence

Our grade 8s explored identity as they painted abstract self-portraits with artist-educator Ricky Schaede. Photo by Mackenzy Willis.

There’s a saying as January 1st arrives: “New year, new you!” It’s the chance to start over, and to redefine ourselves for the better. DAREarts has already been working hard to help our youth redefine themselves as excellent, capable young leaders – a resolution that will empower 150 Rexdale-area children!

In December, we met with our new student delegates from 14 Northwest Etobicoke-area schools. These children have begun their DAREarts journey to empowerment as young leaders, leaving their schools for several full days of immersive arts education that help build the DARE values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility/Respect and Excellence. Coming in from grades four to eight, each class has now experienced two of their nine DAREarts Days.

Each DAREarts delegate is carefully selected by their school for a variety of reasons, many of which include bullying, poverty, underdeveloped social skills, or challenges at home or school. When a school signs on for DAREarts, they send us their students who are most in need of opportunity, and who need to find their inner leader before it’s too late.

Artist-Educator Jamie Robinson brings our Grade 4s into Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on their Drama Day. Photo by Alan Dunlop.
Artist-Educator Jamie Robinson brought our Grade 4s into Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Alan Dunlop.

Our children have already encountered many incredible experiences in their first three weeks of DAREarts Days, working with our teaching team plus renowned artist-educators, including actor Jamie Robinson, stage combat choreographer Casey Hudecki, artistic director Kevin Ormsby of Kashedance, award-winning visual artists Sann Sann Lam, Ricky Schaede, and Ilana van Zyl, Ojibway artist Gloria Hope, sculptor Bruce Brown, and artistic director Luke Reece and actor Bria McLaughlin of Little Black Afro Theatre. They’ve explored the galleries of the AGO, discovered ornate historical footwear at the Bata Shoe Museum, dug into clay at the Gardiner Museum, and painted in the studios of the Toronto School of Art.

Artist-Educator Kevin Ormsby had our grade 7s moving with a day of Afro-Contemporary dance! Photo by Alan Dunlop.
Artist-Educator Kevin Ormsby had our grade 7s moving with a day of Afro-Contemporary dance! Photo by Alan Dunlop.

As they gain new knowledge and try new things, each DAREarts “delegate” has a mission at the end of the day: they are dared to teach their classmates back at school what they have learned at DAREarts, allowing more children to gain new educational insights while our delegates put their new leadership skills into practice.

These experiences are reshaping our delegates’ outlooks on themselves, their peers, and the world. They are redefining themselves through the “DARE” values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility, and Excellence.

Our delegates have so much more to experience in the weeks to come, all leading up to their special showcase at North Albion Collegiate (NACI) on March 2nd! Join us!

DAREarts is a children’s charity that uses the arts to empower at-risk young people to become leaders. Our lead sponsors are Northbridge Insurance, Scotiabank, TD Bank Groupand the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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