What Makes Us Different
DAREarts students have the unique opportunity to reset and realign their identity. Our students face significant barriers including: poverty, food insecurity, bullying, and dealing with domestic violence and addictions in their families. DAREarts students are children who are struggling to succeed in school and in their lives due to the barriers they face. Whether they are living out their frustrations by acting out in class or disengaging altogether, these are students who have a huge opportunity to change their life.
At DAREarts we believe that every child can thrive when given the warmth, encouragement and space to take the first step towards a brighter future. Our team of experienced and supportive educators works to create those experiences for each young person we work with so they can see and embrace the excellence we see in them.
We believe leaders aren’t born, their built. Our model disrupts common conceptions of youth leadership development. Instead of focusing on young people that have already demonstrated their leadership capacity, we see our programs as a critical intervention for children and youth who, for many reasons, may never consider themselves as leaders without support. We create a learning environment where participants can develop the skills, behaviors and confidence they need to see themselves as vital and capable changemakers.
Our in-school and extracurricular programs provide a supportive, hands-on and community guided environment, for young people to find their voice, connect with their peers and build the skills they need to create a more positive path forward.
Why the Arts?
Accessible and Dynamic: The arts provide a low barrier opportunity to explore new ideas; create something new and discuss complex issues and experiences. We see the arts as a vehicle to build self-esteem, confidence, communication and interpersonal skills in our students. Students are readily able to see art as a form of expression and storytelling and our staff work to ensure each student knows their unique perspectives, experiences and passion are valuable as we co-create.
Skill-building: Numerous studies have shown that access to arts education improves student self-confidence, resilience and self-efficacy; critical skills development and educational outcomes, including decreased drop out rates and academic performance.
A Valuable Tool For Reconciliation: A primary component of meaningful reconciliation efforts involves acknowledging and sharing First Nations, Metis and Inuit histories, traditions and way of knowing. The arts provide an infinitely adaptable way to do just that, while celebrating and reclaiming art forms central to each community.
DAREarts began in 1996 when Marilyn Field was teaching in an underserved Scarborough Ontario school and felt compelled to ignite change for her students.
Marilyn’s unconventional approaches, from playing classical music in detention to taking students to the opera sent a clear message to each student – you matter, you are worthy, you have potential. Students started coming to school early excited for the artistic journey ahead and one by one, child-by-child, lives were changed.
As time passed and Marilyn felt the impact of her efforts, her dream grew bigger and she decided to take a risk, and grow her school-based impact into something that would transform the lives of young people across Canada.
Today DAREarts operates in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, and remote northern communities, transforming the lives of thousands of students each year.