October 26, 2011 12:05 ET

Renowned Fashion Designer D'Arcy Moses Inspires Remote Aboriginal Youth with darearts

Helping Canadian Youth-In-Need Turn their Lives Around

WEBEQUIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 26, 2011) - This week, internationally renowned Fashion Designer D'Arcy Moses is supporting his Aboriginal roots in the remote Northern community of Webequie, ON, where he is mentoring youth for the darearts First Roots Program for Aboriginal Youth. darearts empowers Canadian youth challenged by life circumstances to build their confidence and courage through cultural experiences, as they learn from arts professionals like D'Arcy Moses. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity gives participants a renewed positive outlook, as well as the skills and confidence to be leaders in their own lives and in their communities.

An internationally renowned aboriginal designer from Wrigley, NWT who believes in celebrating traditional art, Moses hopes to inspire the youth to be their best selves while staying true to their heritage. "I'm honoured to be part of the darearts program that is improving the lives of Aboriginal youth," says D'Arcy Moses. "Especially in a community such as Webequie, where kids are isolated and needing positive influences, the work that darearts is doing is so important. It's important that these kids retain their traditional skills because it is these traditional skills that help retain identity."

Canada's aboriginal population topped one million in 2008 and nearly half of the native population is under 25, making aboriginal youth our country's fastest growing demographic group. (Census Canada) These youth face unique challenges that often lead to hopelessness, substance abuse, violence and suicide. Suicide rates are five to seven times higher for First Nations youth than for non-Aboriginal youth and suicide rates among Inuit youth are among the highest in the world. (Health Canada) The darearts program provides Aboriginal youth with a positive outlook and leadership skills so that they can excel and set a positive example for others in their community.

Marilyn Field, Founder and President of darearts is resolute in her goals to bring out the best in all Canadian youth and ecstatic about Moses' participation in the program. "All kids will rise to the occasion if given the opportunity," says Field. "At least some of these 25 Aboriginal youth will work with D'Arcy and say – He was like me once and look where he is now. I can do the same."

darearts' programs provide vulnerable children aged 9 – 14 with cultural experiences that they would not otherwise access. darearts developed an Aboriginal program called 'First Roots' that is specifically geared for youth in remote northern First Nations communities. It is funded in part by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Noront Resources Ltd. More funding is needed to reach more communities. The geographical scope of darearts extends nationally, with programs initiated in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Vancouver.

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