Today’s blog is courtesy of DAREarts Head Teacher Geneviève Anthony. Geneviève is, at this very moment, boarding a flight to return home after three marvellous weeks out west. These are her thoughts:
Photo courtesy Kjersten Saude
As the Head Teacher of DAREarts, I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to work with fellow educators who know the healing power of the arts. Most of us lived challenging childhoods where drug abuse, violence, neglect, mental health issues and general dysfunction forced us to find refuge in the visual and performing arts. Through these art forms we found our true selves, regardless of our lot in life, as determined by society, our homes or by our physical challenges. When we work with a DAREarts child we push ourselves to continue to find the best version of ourselves so as to model how s/he too can pursue his/her true potential.
Today at Queen Alexandra the private experiences of the teaching, volunteer and DAREarts staff united as we harmoniously encouraged the children to write their own lyrics to Adele’s “Someone Like You”. The song had a special place in the hearts of the children but having created their own lyrics that commit to taking risks as “I will try and try because I am excellent”, it now has an even more personal bent to it. As the children bravely sang their lyrics, some of the staff wiped tears away. We swelled with joy in the confidence of knowing we had passed on the self healing medicinal power of music and song writing to 51 students, who once they survive their youth will undoubtedly thrive as adults.
The arts used as a tool to inspire the foundations of confidence and creativity in Canadian youth is efficient and effective. DAREarts after three weeks and three schools in the wonderfully welcoming city of Vancouver is leaving one hundred children better at communicating with their teachers as well as their peers, more respectful of themselves, awakened to their ability to create a life and behaviour that suites them.
I am saddened to say goodbye but look forward to DAREarts return so that we can continue to engage our youth: to have the confidence to come forward in front of nearly 60 people and apologize for drawing on the carpet, to use one’s voice in front of a class that for SEVEN years has barely heard us, to use please and thank you even in uncomfortable and awkward situations, to bravely look a bully in the eye and ask her to stop, to sing a song with every bit of one’s being, to draw a picture that shows what has happened in the past and wish for tomorrow, to feel the surge of joy that being a leader can bring.
It may rain a lot here but in every DAREarts class there has been a lot of sun.