Summary of organization/program
UforChange knows that by promoting and nurturing a strong, creative culture, we can create a better world. UforChange works with new Canadian and low-income youth living in and around St. James Town to inspire them and give them the tools to succeed by providing support and resources to pursue higher education, volunteering, job shadowing and/or employment opportunities. We connect youth with professionals, artists, and community leaders who help them to use the arts as a vehicle for economic, cultural and social change.
At the core of the program is a unique methodology: an exploration of arts and life skills that is both participant guided and founded in experiential learning. UforChange provides a six month, structured and intensive arts, culture and life skills program for youth, followed by another 9 months of participant selected projects, fully facilitated by staff and volunteers. Our methodology has demonstrated proven results for youth by helping them to make friends, build skills, find confidence, formulate and follow through on a plan for their future, all while developing a stronger sense of community, belonging and pride.
Dominant Media Forms
To provide programs and workshops to youth in the areas of arts and community building, culminating in a professional-grade performance at the conclusion of their 6-month experience, which will in turn inspire newly discovered self-confidence to drive them to lead the best life they can.
To act as a welcoming hub for a mix of newcomer and citizen youth whereby they can experience state-of-the-art facilities, new opportunities, new friends,access to resources, and an environment in which they are encouraged to strive, grow and succeed.
To partner with community, corporate, and educational institutions to provide youth with a wide network of industry professionals, leaders, and services.
To provide youth with the opportunity to enhance their education, in the realms of post-secondary pursuits, academic upgrading, liaison with employment agencies, employment readiness, and work experience in artistic industries.
Statement of Principles
UforChange is a 6-month program that takes a holistic approach to youth development.
Once participants are selected, they go through an orientation and engage in a sampling of arts workshops, where they have the opportunity to try a variety of creative outlets. They then focus on 1 to 3 different art streams of their choice and have the opportunity to work with other youth and creative professional mentors.
Over the course of 20 weeks, in addition to the arts, youth will also experience various life skills and community building workshops, including human rights and financial literacy. Arts are emphasized as a vehicle to express oneself and messages of community building, equality, and other personal and social statements.
Youth also get to go on a retreat, where they will have time to rehearse their arts, learn about their communities, and strengthen bonds with peers and staff.
VivaCity, our 3 day long showcase, is a chance for youth the opportunity to present their work and ideas to the public.
After VivaCity, youth have a graduation ceremony, and receive an honourarium of money that they can use towards an internship or educational purposes. After graduation, alumni will forever have access to the resources and opportunities related to our program. As an alumnus, a participant begins mentorships, educational opportunities, the chance to become a teacher’s assistant, and access to several other alumni resources.
Our program is a great experience to build confidence, friendships, opportunity, connect with the community, and understand social issues.
UforChange is always expanding and developing its Programs. Click on a program title to find out more.
Leader(s): Andre Guindi
Leader(s): Sean Roman
Leader(s): Sean Roman
Leader(s): Hanna Kiel
Leader(s): Jason Yorke-Best, Jennifer Robichaud
Leader(s): DJ L’Oqenz
Leader(s): Christopher Paunil
FILM AND VIDEO PRODUCTION
Leader(s): Tony Del Rio
GRAFFITI & MURAL ARTS
Leader(s): Jose-Gabriel Sandoval
Leader(s): Mark El Raheb
Leader(s): Christine Calder
Leader(s): Michelle Clarke
Leader(s): Anthony Kissoon
SPOKEN WORD & POETRY
Leader(s): Canisia Lubrin
Leader(s): Sarah ElRaheb
Leader(s): Saidah Baba Talibah
Leaders: Neil Prime-Coote
Samples of work
The Daniels Corporation
E.W. Bickle Foundation
The Rotary Club of Toronto
The Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto
State Street Foundation
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
Canada’s National Ballet School
George Brown Community Partnerships Office
Green Thumbs Growing Kids
Mountain View Coffee Company
Soulpepper Theatre Company
St James Town Safety Committee
St James Town Youth Council
The Parliament St News
Toronto Employment Social Services (TEST)
Yonge Street Mission (YSM)
Youth Employment Services (YES)
5th Elementt Fine Dining