DAREarts was born out of the vision that every child deserves to see excellence in themselves and every child deserves the opportunity to experience the transformational power of the arts.
Using the arts as a vehicle, we work to empower leadership development in children and youth from underserved communities. By exploring a multitude of artistic disciplines paired with a leadership development curriculum, students explore who they are, creatively express themselves, build confidence and become leaders that create positive change in their lives and in the lives of others.
Our Mission: DAREarts will empower children & youth from underserved communities to build confidence, courage and their inner leader. By harnessing the power of the arts and DARE values they will dare to ignite change.
Our Vision: Inspiring young Canadians with a lifelong motivation for creative thinking, excellence, and leadership in their lives through educational experiences in the arts.
Through our in-school and extracurricular programs, we provide our students with the opportunity for a turning point. In a supportive, hands-on and community guided environment, our students have the chance to hit the reset button; to explore their feelings of isolation, frustration, and fear, and then to build the confidence and hope to replace those feelings with courage, belief in themselves, and a sense of community.
Why the Arts?
Accessible and Dynamic: The arts provide a low barrier opportunity to explore new ideas; create something new and discuss complex issues and experiences. We see the arts as a vehicle to build self-esteem, confidence, communication and interpersonal skills in our students. Students are readily able to see art as a form of expression and storytelling and our staff work to ensure each student knows their unique perspectives, experiences and passion are valuable as we co-create.
Skill-building: Numerous studies have shown that access to arts education improves student self-confidence, resilience and self-efficacy; critical skills development and educational outcomes, including decreased drop out rates and academic performance.
A Valuable Tool For Reconciliation: A primary component of meaningful reconciliation efforts involves acknowledging and sharing First Nations, Metis and Inuit histories, traditions and way of knowing. The arts provide an infinitely adaptable way to do just that, while celebrating and reclaiming art forms central to each community.
All the Arts: Delivered to 4-8th grade students in Toronto (Northern Etobicoke, Scarborough and the Downtown Core) and Vancouver (Lower East Side) and Halifax, this program offers young people from underserved communities who are struggling in the classroom the unique opportunity to see themselves differently through exploring and creating with the arts. 2 students per grade from each of up to 15 different schools come together and participate in a 10-week long program. Together they explore a variety of artistic disciplines including: music, drama, dance, culinary arts, media and post-production, circus arts, architectural design, visual arts, graphic design, fashion, and photography. As they explore these art forms, they awaken their inner artist and inner leader, building key leadership skills including: self-confidence, self-expression, problem solving, communication and critical thinking skills. Our staff team works closely with each student to help them incorporate and apply this strengthened skill set and positive sense of self into their everyday lives, creating positive change for themselves and their communities. DAREarts
First Roots: The DAREarts First Roots Program works in collaboration with remote First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities across Canada to support students in developing their leadership skills and voice through the arts. A team of DAREarts Educators work alongside local teachers, elders, youth mentors, and artists to deliver a week of intensive multi-arts workshops that support student leadership development and help address the opportunity gap in remote communities. Recently, a wellness component has been included in the programming at the request of community stakeholders.
DAREarts Youth Leadership Institute: Offered in Toronto, the DAREarts Youth Leadership Institute is a new program that further supports our students as they transition into high school. In this alumni-based program, high school students reach further and dig deeper. Students participate in intensive after-school sessions rooted in increasing self-awareness, building community, and improving mental health. They co-create a culminating art project focused on community service, and work to activate their leadership skills in the broader community.
DAREarts Youth Mentors Program: Offered in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Webequie and Attawapiskat First Nations, the DAREarts Youth Mentorship Program is a new opportunity for youth who have previously participated in DAREarts programming to develop their leadership skills into a mentorship position. Through training in theory, practice, and reaching beyond, the students develop the necessary skills and confidence to become an effective mentor in their community and in the workplace. Once trained, each mentor directly supports the DAREarts programming that occurs in their region and helps to nurture the leadership development of the next generation of DAREarts students. This project is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada.
DAREarts Card Making Days: In full-day workshops engaging up to 100 students at a time, students in urban centres explore how they can use their creativity to help remote Indigenous communities address opportunity gaps for youth empowerment programming. The DAREarts Card Making Days offer students the opportunity to learn about the legacy and impact of the residential school system on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples across Canada. Students then engage in a visual arts lesson where they design greeting cards that are then collected and sold by DAREarts to facilitate access to our First Roots programming in remote Indigenous communities across Canada.
DAREarts Days: These one-day workshops bring our artist-educators into 4-8th grade classrooms in Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia that dare students to discover their inner leader. Local arts professionals work in the classroom alongside DAREarts Educators and school teachers to engage students in collaborative and hands-on visual arts, dramatic arts or song-writing activities.
What People Are Saying
"The opportunity to discover the arts not only helped her see that no challenge is insurmountable but also helped her transition into a vibrant, confident, young teenager ready to take on any challenge."
— Parent of DAREarts student
"Thank you for believing in me because you made me believe in myself."
— Akiya, DAREarts student
"When I started at DAREarts, I was shy and didn’t want to do any of the activities. But, by the end of the day, I was excited to come back. By the second week, I had more friends than before. At DAREarts, I learned to be creative and open-minded."
— Troyson, DAREarts student