TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 25, 2012) - Just up the road from last week's tragic shootings in Scarborough, DAREarts is running its annual summer camp this week to provide at-risk youth with the skills they need to become positive leaders in their communities. Former gang members say they need to be engaged in programs BEFORE they have the opportunity to get involved in violence, crime and gang activity. National research also tells us that the arts are particularly effective when working with at-risk youth, and yet the rates of participation in the arts are the lowest for the poorest children in Canada. This means organizations like DAREarts that provide ongoing programs and exposure to the arts are a vital piece of crime prevention in Canada.
Marilyn Field, President and Founder of sixteen-year-old DAREarts, says that the fact that the DAREarts summer camp involves the exact community impacted by last week's shootings is more than coincidence. "DAREarts is for at-risk youth who need the most help and can't afford to get it," says Field. "Students who participate in our summer arts camp and programs throughout the year acquire vital life skills. In doing so, they say no to the violence in their streets and yes to igniting positive change in their communities."
Professor Robin Wright conducted the National Arts and Youth Demonstration Project that assessed the value of arts and culture in enriching the lives of at-risk children and youth. The study followed 183 youth aged 10 to 15 years from low-income, multicultural neighbourhoods in Montreal, QC, Toronto, ON, a rural town in Ontario, Winnipeg, MB and Vancouver. "As a result of participating in a bi-weekly ninety minute arts program for nine consecutive months, these youth experienced an increase in confidence, interpersonal skills, problem solving skills and the ability to connect to adults and positive role models."
Professor Wright says, "We know that the arts are effective in fostering pro-social behavior that's needed to nurture children to become peaceful, productive members of society. Yet, our poorest, most vulnerable children don't have access to the arts." Wright continues, "I applaud DAREarts as its programming addresses this need."
|What: Talk to DAREarts summer camp students and teachers
|Where: Military Trail P.S., at Morningside Rd. in east Scarborough
|When: Thursday, July 26th, 1:30 - 2:30 pm
DAREarts is a Canadian not-for-profit organization which stands for "Discipline, Action and Responsibility and Excellence in Education". DAREarts work with 9-19 year olds from schools in high-priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to become leaders. In sixteen years, DAREarts has empowered over 160,000 children from high priority communities to make better choices in their lives and become leaders. www.darearts.com.