Over 170 young DAREarts delegates from 25 Toronto District School Board schools displayed their talents with pride on Thursday, June 13 and ran the show they created – “Promenade Through Time”. The evening showcased the culmination of the last three months of DAREarts Days, in which the students explored and engaged in visual arts, music, drama, dance, architecture, literature and fashion throughout the 15th to 21st centuries in workshop settings outside of their classrooms. The grades four to eight children had been chosen by their schools based on potential and need. In their DAREarts Days, they painted, sculpted, sang, danced, composed, designed, wrote and acted through past world cultures while guided by local arts professionals. The students gained leadership skills by returning to their schools and teaching their classmates what they learned.
Annie Appleby, TDSB System Superintendent, School Effectiveness, explained her own perspective as a parent: “for me, as a person who lives in Toronto, and I have sons – they’re adults – being a citizen, giving back to your community, being able to show those representatives around you, being a worthwhile person who really takes on leadership and gives back to a community…this is what we see happening with the students who are participating in DAREarts. They have an opportunity to experience something that they might not have done otherwise but it’s about the sharing. We all need to be global citizens right now. When we look at how the world works, these children are being given opportunities. Jacob talked to me at the front, and he was very excitedly talking about going to the circus and then he told me they got to go fencing, and I thinking to myself, this is wonderful.”
Indeed, the theatre was peppered with past graduates who volunteered and supported this year’s delegates. One graduate, Molly Sarker, 2013 DAREarts Leadership Award recipient, recited a poem to “give you an idea of my experience with DAREarts.”
An ability of the mind, to picture with your eye so that when we see eye to eye, I can show you, there’s more power in what we do. And I, I dare you. I dare you to be the voice of the unheard because it takes one to create a path, and we will all follow. We all come together as one. As a community. As a unity. To free both your and my minds.
DAREarts recently learned that the charity was recognized by the TDSB with an “Outstanding Partnership” award for their “contribution to the success and well-being of TDSB students”. Kids need critical life coping tools to vigorously challenge social and economic pitfalls before they fall in. Through DAREarts, kids from high needs neighbourhoods are igniting change in their lives.
Marilyn Field, DAREarts Founder, enthused about the children and their accomplishments: “Each one of the leaders that you are going to see on stage, we know, are going to be wonderful Canadian, as well as global citizens.” Laura MacKinnon, Lead Teacher for DAREarts Program, is proud of her students and teaching team. “This show is run by the students themselves. In their time with DAREarts, they’ve come together as a team and learned to support one another. We remind them every DAREarts day that they are excellent. The transformation has been absolutely incredible to witness and I’m so excited to see these leaders give back to their schools and their community in the future.”
DAREarts is a Canadian not-for-profit organization which stands for “Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence”. DAREarts’ 5-year program works with 9-14 year olds from schools in high-priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to become leaders. Visit www.darearts.com for information on how this is accomplished. In sixteen years, DAREarts has empowered over 170,000 children from high priority communities to make better choices in their lives and become leaders.
DAREarts partners include: DAREartists 2013:Njacko Backo, Candice Bogdanski, Gayle Boxer-Duncanson, Bruce Brown, Eleni Edwards, Moshe Hammer, Ildiko Hencz, Sarah Hicks, Bryan Lockyer, Joanna Lozowchuk, Leanna Manning, Glenn Marais, Véronique Mathieu, Ashley Meloche, Melissa Noventa, Kevin Ormsby, Jane Pang, Lee Pham, Michael Pietrocarlo, Malati Rajagopalan, Mark Raynes Roberts, Jon Reid, Matt Richardson, Jamie Robinson, Manny Sandoval, & Cortney Stephenson Education Partners: Aimia, Art Gallery of Ontario, Arts & Letters Club, Bata Shoe Museum, Casa Loma, CBC Museum, Centre of Gravity, Clearview School of Arts and Culture, Eliile Gallery, Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, Gardiner Museum, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Lillian Smith Library, Long & McQuade, National Ballet School, Royal Ontario Museum, Sampradaya Dance Creations, St. Paul’s Basilica, Trinity St. Paul’s, The Walmer Centre. DAREarts Teaching Team: Laura MacKinnon (Lead Teacher),Renee Atchison, (Teacher), Mackenzy Willis (TA), Molly Enneson (TA)
DAREarts thanks its generous supporters, without whom this much-needed program would not be possible, led by corporations Northbridge Insurance, Guy Carpenter and Scotiabank, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council. A special thanks goes out to Johansen-Larsen Foundation and TDSB.