DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

October 08, 2014 16:47 ET

DAREarts Commentary: Canadian Youth and Murder in Our Cities

By Cathy Elliott, DAREarts First Roots Aboriginal Program Associate

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 8, 2014) - As crisis teams work with the families and communities of First Nation murder victim Daniel Levac in Thunder Bay and two Etobicoke victims in recent fatal shootings, we are reminded yet again of the critical need for programs to help children and youth cope with challenges faced in Ontario. Although the two stories are unrelated, the shocking similarity is that they are male, young and dead.

DAREarts works with young people aged 9 - 14 along with their parents, teachers and community members to equip them with the tools they need to survive in today's complicated and dangerous landscape. To a young person coming to a city from a remote community, far from his or her family, the dangers are very real, the choices unclear. To a young New Canadian living in one of Canada's most impoverished and disadvantaged neighbourhoods, the challenges are equally daunting. The arts, empowerment and strong choices help kids make the kind of decisions that help to keep them safe, and turn them into leaders.

We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Daniel Levac and his community (Sachigo Lake First Nation) as they grapple with the helplessness they must be feeling. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and communities of Zaid Youssef and the other unidentified youth who lost their loved ones to gunfire in Toronto.

We understand that marginalized children need a helping hand in order to find their inner strength and support other kids who need their help. If we don't show them alternative pathways, some of those kids will find self-worth through weapons and gangs for protection and expression. We know that through the arts and culture, they can find constructive means to deal with bullying, conflict, poverty and other life-limiters.

Canada's youth are the responsibility of all Canadians. Let's keep our focus on our children, nurture them, hold them dear and give them the tools they need in order to thrive before that need turns to self-preservation and despair.

DAREarts is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, which stands for "Discipline, Action, Respect, Responsibility and Excellence in Education". 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 more information about DAREarts. Visit www.darearts.wordpress.com for up-to-date sharing of their experiences.

DAREarts thanks its lead supporters: Northbridge Insurance, Guy Carpenter, Scotiabank, Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Contact Information