If I were to sum up this year for our organization with one word, I would use the word proud. I am proud to be part of a collective of people with such a strongly shared mission to support young people to thrive. I am proud to see the young people we work with rise up beyond the challenges they unfairly face. I am proud of our stakeholders who tirelessly stand with us in our shared commitment to children and youth. I am proud that in the face of a global pandemic, DAREarts saw its most successful year on record in its 24-year history. I am proud that because of this success, we can serve more young people than ever before. And I am proud to see our DAREarts team working hard every day in the face of so many changes and organizational pivots, taking on the added stresses knowing that what we do now, how we react, how we innovate, and how we listen has a significant impact on the lives of the young people we serve.
When society faces times of hardship, the people and communities hardest hit are those already under-resourced: those facing systemic racism, chronic underfunding, and poverty. During COVID-19, the young people and their families that DAREarts serves have faced significant and amplified challenges. In an unprecedented time of crisis, we have seen our community rally around our efforts to continue to serve young people in Canada.
Not even a pandemic could keep our community apart. When COVID-19 threw our world into chaos, we moved fast to make sure children and youth could stay connected and creating together.
Creating supportive spaces where young people can unpack, explore and share complex ideas, thoughts and emotions is a fundamental way we foster wellness for our students. Art is a powerful tool in this work.
Too often, we minimize the role of play in building connections, staying well and building essential skills. Incorporating time for fun, joyful exploration is an important part of everything we do and the results speak for themselves.
We meet our students where they are and work with them to take the next steps on their path forward. Consistent recognition, celebration and a gentle push forward is our formula for supporting our student in their personal growth.
a 22% increase over 2019
… GTA, Webequie First Nation,
Attawapiskat First Nation,
… agreed they learned something new
… agreed that they’d have their
child learn with us again
… made with allied service organizations to support
children and families during the pandemic
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Our efforts to generate increased support for our mission, and to decrease our spending, have resulted in: financial stability, organizational stability, mission-driven focus on service delivery, increased impact for youth and increased participant reach.
THE JUDITH TELLER FOUNDATION
THE WINDSOR FOUNDATION
J.P BICKELL FOUNDATION
THE EDITH LANDO CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
THE MADDIE PROJECT
Ms. Kristal Au-Yong
Mr. James Rausch
Mr. John Landry
The Magnes Group Inc.
Wells Fargo Bank
Zuber & Company LLP
This year, our Annual Youth Leadership Awards looked quite different than it has in the past. In light of the pandemic, we wanted this year’s awards to not only be a celebration of the incredible accomplishments of our young changemakers but also serve as a call to action for our community of supporters. We wanted to come together in support of the children and youth across Canada for whom physical distancing efforts had quickly become daunting and damaging social isolation.
We needed to make sure that those young people knew they mattered, and that they have a safe space where they could feel lifted up by their DAREarts community. We are so grateful that our incredible network of champions felt the same way.
That’s why we decided on a theme of DARETogether for this year’s Youth Leadership Awards. Our sponsors came together to direct 100% of their support towards the well-being of under-served young people struggling during these unprecedented times.
Together, we raised an incredible $153,483 to provide DAREarts Creativity Kits, online and phone-based support for hundreds of young people and families throughout the spring and summer.
The spirit of togetherness, community and generosity that infused our DARETogether campaign is the perfect testament to the determination and commitment to positive change each of this year’s Young Changemakers embodies. Check out their incredible stories in these spotlight videos.
With COVID-19 still impacting our communities, we remain committed to making sure children and youth have opportunities to create and connect together. Take a look at what we have planned.
Every day we wake up energized by the work that we do. We challenge ourselves, push our own limits, and strive to realize our individual and collective potential. Driven by our mission, we are consistently striving to better serve our students and communities.
Thank you to our:
Tarik Muzaffar, Chair
Kristal Au-Yong, Vice-Chair
Christopher Davenport, Secretary
John Landry, Treasurer
Mark Baker, Director
Lambert Morvan, Director
Zlata Huddleston, Director
James Rausch, Director
Jannine Krish, Director
Richard Valade, Director
Annie Appleby, Director
Lesa Williams-George, Director
Jennifer Wilson, President & CEO
Lisa Norton, National Program Manager
Aniska Ali, VP Strategic Partnerships & Impact
Lori Collinge, Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Mackenzy Willis, Regional Lead GTA
Glenn Marais, Remote Programs Lead
Heather Prost, Regional Lead Western Canada
Monte Neufeld, Program Facilitator, GTA
Emilie De Caen, Program Facilitator GTA
Alejandro Lazzari, Program Co-Facilitator Western Canada
Sarah Thompson, Program Co-Facilitator Western Canada
Lavinia Butuza, Substitute Facilitator, GTA
Jordan Donovan, Substitute Facilitator, GTA
Maya Gonzalez-Fuentes, Substitute Facilitator, GTA
Shahla Lafeer, Substitute Facilitator, GTA
Making A. Mends
Eddy van Wyk
Joshua “Scribe” Watkis