Youth Outreach: Connecting to Community Through Art – for elementary and high school students with (dis)abilities
January 10, 2022 @ 9:00 am - January 1, 2023 @ 3:00 pm
This program provides online visual arts programming to youth with intellectual and/or developmental (dis)abilities in elementary and secondary school. Students meet twice a month (once a month at Centre Wellington District High School and once a month at Elora Public School from January – June 2022, culminating in an in-person art and share event at the Elora Centre for the Arts. The sessions offer live online instruction, provided by an ECFTA Arts Educator, assisted by classroom teachers. Art supplies are free to students and are delivered to the schools. Project themes are centred around community building, emphasizing collaboration and success through personal artistic expression. ECFTA has an established network of community organizations that will be individually engaged by the Arts Educator in the curriculum design for each session, with the goal of connecting students to the community in meaningful ways.
Why is this program important?
Students with (dis)abilities (termed “M.I.D” by the school board) experience intellectual and/or developmental delays and face added challenges to feeling supported within the school system and the broader community, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also have limited access to arts-based resources within the school due to the continued erosion of arts funding. This program strives to engage them in focusing on emotional and social well-being through art projects that connect them with community initiatives, helping them experience community life beyond school. Our goal is that they feel more connected and included in the community.
The 2019 Vital Signs Report demonstrates the need for this program as follows:
- Only 41% of students feel a sense of belonging to their community through school;
- Accessibility to the arts continues to be a barrier for many;
- Youth mental health is a particular vulnerability; and
- Connection to the community is listed as a preventative factor against suicide.
This project arose as a direct request from teachers of M.I.D (mild intellectual disability) and Life Skills students and aligns with our goal of supporting community needs through the arts.
As additional funding and donations are secured for our Youth Outreach programs, additional sessions will be added. In the meantime, we are grateful for the support of the Community Building Fund from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (to support online workshops), Centre Wellington Community Foundation Covid-19 Community Response Fund, The Good Foundation and our generous community on Giving Tuesday who have enabled this program! We couldn’t run this program without their support!
For more information about this program please contact us at: email@example.com
To help support this program by donating today please click here.