Over the weekend I got to attend UNITY Charity’s KickOff Event. To quote their website: “Unity is a youth led charity dedicated to showing youth how using positive forms of artistic self-expression leads to making positive life choices. Through [their] performance driven programs and events [they] display the possibilities of positive self-expressions to help boost the self-esteem of youth while steering them away from violence, racism and other negative expressions.” UNITY Charity’s feature program Hip Hop Away from Violence reaches over 20,000 Toronto Youth each year.
Unity Charity held their KickOff Event in Toronto’s Yonge/Dundas Square, where the rain couldn’t keep the crowds away. The event was the cumulation of months of rehearsal from the most successful kids from Unity’s school programs in Toronto and surrounding areas, during the year. throughout the day, I saw dancers, spoken word artists and beat boxers. I found the beat boxing really cool, something that I hadn’t been exposed to since I watched a TV show about it when I was about 8. Being exposed to that was really awesome to experience.
They also had a free creative space in another areas of the square where people could do graffiti on boards and draw with chalk all over the ground. I work for a youth theatre festival during the year (a festival that I was once a participant in) and I really enjoyed seeing all of the young people up there performing something they worked so hard on. The event was a great success.
Sarah Miller-Garvin is the Neighbourhood Arts Network’s Summer Assistant