Community Development

Funding level: Up to $50,000

Description

WHO WE ARE
Our mission is to mentor young people in the pursuit of their artistic and aspirational passions in an inclusive community.

Since our inception in 2009, UforChange has been building a movement of young creative change-makers who are using the culture of creativity to make a better world. Through our interactive workshops, we open doors for young people by showing them how to use their creative potential to propel their lives forward. We accept youth based on their eagerness to better their lives, not on artistic talent or merit.

When in our space, the youth we serve in the Regent Park community have access to:
*8-month courses in Fashion, Photography, DJ and Film through our Core Arts Program
*Mentors who teach, inspire, guide, and connect young people to their respective passions
*Education support services to guide youth through postsecondary applications, scholarship applications and the enrolment process
*Opportunities to earn income with their newfound artistic skills by taking on freelance gigs
*A welcoming and safe studio space equipped with the technological tools to help master their art

OUR IMPACT
UforChange serves youth, ages 16-29, from the Regent Park community and the Greater Toronto Area. 75% of our alumni came from households with less than $30,000 in after-tax household income, putting them into the low income demographic. Our youth, often visible minorities, face multiple challenges such as: poverty, exposure to violence and crime, high risk of substance abuse, family breakdown, social isolation, culture shock and language barriers. UforChange works to avoid these barriers from stopping young people from achieving their goals and build a career. Our participants are passionate young people who are seeking opportunity, and many happen to be from marginalized communities, including newcomers, racialized youth, and LGBTQ+ youth.

THE IDEA
To date we have served 1624 youth and helped 200 of our graduates enrol in a postsecondary training program! Serving a population in a city that is always growing, we recognize that we need to expand our programming and broaden our services.

We also recognize that common forms of education don't work for everyone, so we are seeking to fill that gap by providing youth with hands-on education in the arts sector and equipping them with the tools needed to start their own independent creative careers or businesses. We propose offering a new element to our Core Arts Program in the form of Business Labs.

Working with Business in the Streets, our partner in this endeavour, our proposed curriculum for our Business Labs has been divided into three sections: Personal Skills Development, Professional Skills Development and Entrepreneurship. Workshops will be sequential, building on the information from the class prior. We will record each session and post our content online so that our reach is expanded to more youth and not limited to those who have been accepted into our program.

We will use AVIVA funding to:
*Purchase additional hardware such as computers, cameras, and sound equipment to have more youth participants who can use equipment at their own pace
*Hiring additional mentors so we can offer up more spaces for applicants and have more 1:1 coaching with youth
*Bring in workshop leaders from local agencies who specialize in the topics covered in our curriculum

Once these changes are integrated, we would be giving more opportunities to young creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is only by continuously evolving to better serve our community and making resources accessible that our collaborative work with young people to imagine and map out a future rich with opportunity can continue to thrive!

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Uforchange Movement

Location: Toronto