My name is Dante Scholar. I have been involved with DAREarts for almost 10 years and I first became involved with the program when I was in grade 6.
I didn’t have too many friends at school and I got picked on constantly for the way I looked and since I was a kid with a quick temper, I ended up getting into a lot of fights and landing in the principal’s office more often than not.
My self-esteem was low and so were my grades in my academic classes. Our principal and our office administrator thought that I would benefit from DAREarts and suggested that I sign up for it. I was unsure of what to expect, but I knew that no matter what happened it had to be better than being at school so, I decided to go. To this day, I am thankful for that decision. I made a bunch of new friends in the program, learned new things, got to travel to different places around the city that I otherwise would not have been able to go and I was introduced to the DARE values: Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Respect, Reflection and Excellence. I take these values everywhere I go, whether that’s with coaching a youth hockey team or just keeping myself on track in school.
In my third year with the program, I truly became passionate about music after our grade 8 class wrote an entire song in one day. To this day I continue to sing and write songs and in high school that same passion for music led to me learning to play guitar.
I believe that I can truly say I would not be where I am today if not for DAREarts. Before I was in the program I never would have imagined that I would be attending Humber College and working towards my degree. I never would have believed that I would be able to coach a group of 11-14 year-olds or help out in my community.
I’m glad I was able to be in this program and I’m honoured that now I get the privilege of being able to work with the young leaders in the DAREarts program year after year.
By being in the program, I was given the chance to dare to dream and for that, I will always be thankful for DAREarts.