Inspiring Youth Ignite Change and Receive 2018 DAREarts Leadership Awards

For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2018
Toronto, ON – On Thursday, May 10, 2018, DAREarts will host its annual DAREarts Leadership Awards. This year’s gala will recognize six DAREarts graduate youths from across the country who have shown meaningful leadership among their peers and in their local communities.

Also being honoured will be Karl Subban – Canadian educator, author and hockey dad to NHL stars. He will receive the Cultural Award, which is given to an individual who has led the way in cultivating culture for Canadian youth.

In addition to inspiring words from the young recipients and Mr. Subban, there will be opportunities to support a youth as well as a spirited live auction, with all proceeds of the evening going towards DAREarts programs – empowering another 10,000 youth this next year.

2018 DAREarts Leadership Awards Youth Recipients (see below for photos and details):

  1. Emilie De Caen from Toronto started a karate school four years ago and has been running her own business since then. Now she’s applying for an MBA!
  2. Sandy Amador-Olarte from Vancouver grew up with anxiety as her greatest struggle. Now she says that art is her true passion and positivity is her long-term goal.
  3. Omar Hafidh from Rexdale says DAREarts has helped him to work together with different people, make new friends and be independent as he looks to a career in architecture, construction or the military.
  4. Sylvia Prodhan from Toronto thrives to learn more about equality.
  5. Tyler Shewaybick from Webequie First Nation in remote Northern Ontario has overcome bullying and plans to become an aircraft pilot after high school.
  6. Aidan Soostar from Don Mills was identified as dyslexic when he was younger. Now his long-term goals are designing and building furniture, and possibly working with kids.

Using the power of the arts to ignite change in the lives of underserved children across the country, DAREarts empowers youth to discover and apply new skills to peer interactions and in their communities.

To attend this year’s DAREarts Leadership Awards, please contact 905-729-0097, by email at or online at Tickets are $300 per person and tables range from $4,000 to $100,000.

DAREarts is grateful to all its supporters, including National Supporter Northbridge Insurance, Platinum Supporters Scotiabank and TD Bank Group; Gold Supporters Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Noront Resources and RBC; Transportation Supporters VIA Rail and Air Canada; Lead Education Partners Toronto District School Board and Atelier 19.

DAREarts appreciates the generosity of in-kind donors for this event, including The Carlu, Shooting Stars Productions, Seneca College and many others providing the live and silent auction items. You can view them at Media support is appreciated from Classical 96.3 FM.

DAREarts is a national charity that empowers at-risk young people with the values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence to unlock their potential and become leaders who ignite change. Interacting with working artists in a supportive environment, young people are dared to step outside their familiar boundaries and engage in creative risk-taking activities. This moves them from often-difficult environments to a new, empowering vision of themselves which improves the quality of their life and their communities.
Since 1996, DAREarts has helped to break the vicious cycle of poverty, bullying, isolation and marginalization for more than 200,000 young people in Canada. For more information go to:

For Media Information:
Rachel Strong
DAREarts Communication
Cell: (416) 735-9255
Office: (905) 729-0097


Emilie De Caen 25, BSc., University of Toronto, Toronto

“Growing up I was extremely shy. DAREarts provided me with a supportive environment where I could use my arts skills in fun ways plus learn important life skills such as confidence and communication. DAREarts in fun ways. This platform gave me courage to take risks and develop my interpersonal skills. Now as a young adult, I DARE on a regular basis and in 2014 I used my discovered leadership abilities to start my own karate school. I am currently applying for MBA programs. I plan to start my own community centre dedicated to youth outreach.”


Sandy Amador-Olarte, 12, Gr. 7, Britannia Elementary School, Vancouver

“Growing up with anxiety has been my greatest struggle. DAREarts often dared me to step out of my comfort zone. It was scary, but empowering…I did what I thought was the impossible. DAREarts taught me to use my inner leader to make a positive difference around me. I see my classmates who are struggling and I try my best to reassure them that they’re going to be alright. My long term goal is to simply think positive. I’ll keep replacing a negative thought with a reassuring thought.”


Omar Hafidh 16, North Albion Collegiate Institute, Rexdale

“I was raised in Kenya by my grandma, my aunties and uncles. When I was 5, I came back to Toronto. School here was hard because I knew only Swahili until I learned English. DAREarts helped me with working with different people, making new friends and being independent. Now when friends are about to make a bad decision, I give them another solution. My goal is to be an architect or work in construction or the military. I have always wanted to join the military, travelling the world to help anyone who needs it.”