DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

April 23, 2009 13:55 ET

DAREarts Awards Raises Over $100,000 for at Risk Youth

Charles Pachter painting 'Moose Lake Pas de Deux" sells for $20,000

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 23, 2009) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this Press Release.

DAREarts honoured Karen Kain and Paul Henderson and six extraordinary youth at a joyful gala fundraiser at the Liberty Grand, Toronto, April 22nd.

With 500 in attendance, the evening is expected to have raised over $100,000 for the program, which helps at risk youth to raise their sights from the guns, drugs and gangs that pervade their world.

Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet Company of Canada, commended DAREarts for their innovative arts-focused program, and spoke passionately about her ten years as a DAREarts mentor. On receiving her award, Kain said, "The DAREarts Cultural Leadership Award has a special resonance for me. I've been involved in the arts all of my life, first as a student, then as a performer and now as an Artistic Director. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to both see and experience... the vital and irreplaceable impact of the arts on the lives of young people." "I'm immensely proud to be associated with an organization like DAREarts and proud, too, that the National Ballet of Canada plays a role in the vital and constructive work that they do in our communities."

Paul Henderson was delighted by the performance by 13 year old Robert Fraser Burke, who performed his runner-up entry to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, as well as the opportunity to meet fellow honouree Karen Kain. Henderson's message to the youth in attendance was a resonating endorsement of the DAREarts values - Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence. Henderson spoke of his commitment to being a leadership role model and helping others on their quest for personal excellence.

An evening of accolades and celebration - the stars were the six youth presented with DAREarts Leadership Awards who spoke eloquently and passionately about the role DAREarts has played in their lives and their hopes for the future. Recipients include Haminat Kehinde, Kelsey Bhatia, Mackenzy Willis, James Valitchka, Heting Christine Yu, and Marina Yesno.

"The last time I talked with Barack Obama..." began one of the stories James Valitchka astounded the audience with. Already a seasoned public speaker at age 14, James is also a published author, having penned his first book at age 9, titled "Superheroes Don't Have Dads". James told the audience about a youth conference he is organizing in Ottawa in May, Stand Tall and Speak Out - A Voice for Children and Youth, which will bring together at risk children from across Canada, including DAREarts youth from northern Ontario's aboriginal communities.

Marino Yesno, a grade 11 student and mother of two from the northern First Nations community of Webequie, described her goal of becoming a teacher and returning to her community as an educator and leadership mentor.

Marilyn Field, founder and director of DAREarts called the auction of a new Charles Pachter painting titled Moose Lake Pas de Deux "both an artistic and fundraising highlight of the evening - the realization of my idea to bring together three Canadian icons; beloved artist and DAREarts mentor Charles Pachter, international ballet legend Karen Kain; and of course, the majestic moose!"

Rex Harrington, former dance partner of Karen Kain, auctioned the painting for $20,000 to a DAREarts supporter. "I am so impressed with what DAREarts is doing, and the children I have heard from tonight, I am going to get involved too!" Harrington announced when he took the stage as guest auctioneer.

Other notable attendees included Mayor David Miller, a number of city councillors, including DAREarts board member Sandra Bussin, Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield, actor Ross Petty, National Ballet of Canada Executive Director Kevin Garland, past NBoC Chair David Banks, columnist and author Allan Fotheringham, prima ballerina and film producer Veronica Tennant, and Canada's National Ballet School Chair Judith Gelber.

DAREarts is a Canadian, not-for-profit charity whose arts education empowers 'at risk' children to become leaders. DAREarts' unique programs work with at risk 9-14 year olds in both 'inner city' and rural areas, including multiple Toronto Mega City areas. The children explore world cultures and history while they themselves paint, sculpt, sing, dance, compose, design, write, act and create, guided by arts professionals. The DAREarts programs also provide much-needed opportunities for children to discover how to express themselves in positive ways and to experience a broader range of activities beyond what is available to them. The children gain leadership skills by returning to their schools and teaching their classmates what they have learned.

Celebrating its 13th year, DAREarts influences over 10,000 Canadian children annually.

For more information on DAREarts visit www.darearts.com.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/MooseLakePasdeDeux1.jpg

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