Guts, NOT Guns!
Thistletown Collegiate Institute was shut down last Thursday for the afternoon. Some of the students who were there arrived at the DAREarts Winter Promenade set up to volunteer. They were shaken, but oddly, not traumatized. Why? Is this the way life is supposed to be for our youth and kids? It’s almost taken for granted that someone’s going to drive into your school parking lot, terrorize your kids, shoot up your property and make off with- what? A phone?
Police apprehended ten people in a robbery ring. They arrested four people in connection to Thistletown Collegiate Institute Highschool’s lockdown – all under the age of 20. The count of charges is breathtaking. Adding them all up, it’s overwhelming. The number of kids who fall through the cracks is heart breaking. It’s frightening to do the math, so we just turn away. They’re losers, that’s all. Big zeros.
Just One Child
If you take one child, aged nine, teach that child that he or she is a valued human being, what do you think could change?
Give that child one day with an artist. Just one. Multiply all the input, experiences, images, sounds, sensations and ideas and see the result. Now multiply that artist by twenty in a six week program. Or three for a week long Aboriginal Intensive Workshop.
That one child learns, through Discipline, Action, Respect, Responsibility and Excellence how to be a Leader. That one child goes back to his home, his classroom and the playground and talks about what he’s seen, what he’s heard, what he’s felt. Another kids wants in. This shows kid #1 that he’s valued for what he knows. It shows kid #2, 3 and 4 what is possible. Send that kid back to the program for five years. He or she becomes a young adult, equipped with the knowledge that excellence is expected. That education is a doorway to a healthy life. That other kids are looking up to him or her. How many kids can be turned away from crime in one year? Five years? Twenty years?
The teacher who is learning from that child, watches as that DAREarts Delegate stands up and passes on the knowledge to a class of thirty. The value of experience is added to the listening, to the teaching. The teacher learns something new about that child. It becomes a Learning Circle. The value of a perfect circle.
Something to Count On
Something we’d all like to count on. But we can’t, unless we all add ourselves to the effort. If we put our resources together, arts organizations, charities, churches, police anti-bullying programs, education professionals, sports fans, banks, businesses, can we make a difference for these kids? DAREarts believe we can.
This past year, DAREarts will have affected positive change in the lives of let’s see…add them up…Vancouver: over 50, Toronto GTA: 270, Webequie FN: 40, Marten Falls FN: 40, Shubenacadie FN: 50, I’m sure I’m missing some… DARE to Sing, DARE to Dance, DARE to Draw, Summer Camps, okay, just last year, over 11,000 kids under the age of 20. Over 170,000 kids have taken the DARE to be leaders through the arts in 17 years. Since that time, we’ve had 0 suicides, 0 gun crimes, and 0 young adults joining gangs. We’re getting requests from communities who see the results and want the same programs for their kids. We’re doing the best we can to find the funding to do this, year after year. It costs DAREarts approximately 750.00 per child. Most of our funding comes from corporate and individual donors.
You probably went to band practice. Or your high-school musical. Or enjoyed a pottery class along with your dose of math and chemistry. You probably were less stressed. You probably knew there was a world of possibility out there, beyond the walls of your school, that didn’t include someone with a gun, looking for your phone. Oh yeah! You didn’t have one of those. A different world, right?
Please go to www.darearts.com and click on the one little button that will add up to a young person’s life. Remember what it was like when you were a kid.
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