DAREarts Helps Ignite Positive Change

Last November students from Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations participated in DAREarts' First Roots program, which uses the arts to teach young people challenged by life circumstances how to unlock their potential and become leaders. Webequie traditional teacher, Bill Jacob explains why this is important, "Our youth need to learn how to turn to traditional and other positive support systems to help them take care of themselves during times of stress." DAREarts has been visiting First Nations communities in Northern Ontario for a decade. This year students were involved in two great performances. In Marten Falls, a teaching from elder Elizabeth Achneepineskum was brought to life through a giant bear puppet created from plastic water bottles. In Webequie, grade 7/8 students combined traditional teaching and multi-media storytelling. The older students planned original choreography while the whole cast worked as a team to proudly deliver the play’s “stronger together” message. “It was amazing to see so many kids involved, including some who don't come to school all that often,” said Noront corporate responsibility manager and volunteer community liaison Kaitlyn Ferris. None of this would have happened without some incredible alumni, like Evan Troutlake, who took the time to be there, help out and inspire others to become role models. Noront was proud to learn that both performances will be highlighted in the 2017 Stratford Festival production of ‘The Breathing Hole’. This experience is proof that the arts can help build confidence, inspire leadership and make learning fun.
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