Youth Advisory Committee
Richard has always had a passion for film. After he finished his degree in film and television, and started his own production company, he wanted to give at risk youth the opportunities that he was not able to receive when he was a young man growing up in Regent Park. Becoming a part of Kick Start Arts was the first step in being able to do so. It gives him a platform, and the resources to impart arts-based knowledge to the youth he works with, and provides them with the opportunity to ‘voice’ their stories.
The work Kick Start Arts does is very hands on, this allows the youth participating in their projects to experience success, and learn from the mistakes they make along the way. KSA has already changed the lives of many young people, and I am honoured to be a part of their Youth Advisory Committee.
I feel Kick Start Arts is an organization driven by the desire to open kids up to new possibilities, and to let them be able to express themselves in an artistic way, that is very important to growth in human beings. I am a living example of a young person who was fortunate to be involved in the arts, especially drama, all my life. I have known Sheena since I was 9 – she was my grade 4, 5, 7 and 8 elementary teacher in Regent Park. She was also the first person to expose me to the power of the arts, and opened the gate for me – when I was 11 she cast me in her first short film as the lead character. I continued to study drama in high school, and was the drama student of the year for both my junior and senior years. Since then, I have started to work with youth myself – I teach a Sunday program at my church, and I volunteer with a youth group, and am a camp counsellor for the Young Diplomats (YD) – a youth-led not-for-profit that is committed to empowering Ethiopian-Canadian youth. I have taken the arts-based experiences and techniques that were so important to me – and use them with the youth I now work with. I am pleased to be asked to be on the youth advisory committee for Kick Start Arts, as I know they are committed to the arts and social change!
Shequita has been doing work in the field of Anti-Racism/Anti Oppression for the last 8 years. She works in the field of community development both at METRAC & Toronto Community Housing, and is a graduate from the University of Toronto, where she majored in Sociology and Women’s Studies. She is also a Founder of the WoW program for young women, that focuses on literacy and education using books as a catalyst and entry point towards conversations of self-esteem, self-love, healthy relationships and identity. In her role as Youth Program Coordinator for the React team, she focuses on violence prevention trainings for youth and service providers for youth. She is currently doing work at both Jarvis Collegiate and Westview Secondary School. Shequita has always loved the arts, and believes in using them as a tool for positive social change – she is very pleased to be part of the Youth Advisory Committee for Kick Start Arts.