UForChange: Creative Culture, Better World

by Michael Nguyen
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UForChange - Fresh Print Magazine

Photo courtesy of UForChange

UForChange is a unique arts organization that offers free creative classes to youth in and around the St. Jamestown and the GTA. Located in the Daniels Spectrum, UForchange has served countless  youth by providing hands-on art workshops, and supporting their path to education and future career endeavors. Through UForChange, many youths were able to find their right path to secondary education, creative passion, and career goals.

UForChange’s mentorship program provides the opportunity for youth to work with professionals in the creative field of DJing, film, photography, acting, and fashion design. The three month intensive workshops involves hands-on training and teamwork. The time schedule for each class is Monday to Friday from 5pm-7pm, and students are expected to commit at least once a week to the workshops. Participants are allowed to enroll in one class per cycle (semester), and are welcome to come back to take extra classes when a new cycle launches again. One of the most popular classes is the film class. At the end of the cycle, each participant is given an opportunity to showcase their chosen art form and give back to their community at an event called Vivacity. One of the exit strategies that UForChange provide for their film students is an internship to gain industry experience and employable skills by inviting them on film sets with professionals.

UForChange - Fresh Print Magazine

Photo courtesy of UForChange

Once the participant joins UForChange, they become a member of a close-knit group of friendly and like-minded people that nurtures creativity in a safe environment. Whether it is needing someone to talk to, or looking for assistance in applying for a college or university program, the staff at UForChange are very supportive when it comes to nurturing and guiding the youth. In addition to being part of the UForChange family, the students get the privilege to go on trips to well-known companies and organizations  in the field of film, photography, and creative art. A few of the past trips that UForChange has been on were Corus Entertainment, Google Headquarters, the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, and Ryerson Image Centre. Being part of the UForChange family also means being part of a community. UForChange has been a liaison for the youth to connect with local community organizations to work together on a film, photography, or community projects. A few of the organizations that UForChange have worked with include Youth Challenge International, Spark, Children’s Aid Foundation, and Business In The Streets. All of these opportunities and connections makes UForChange a very valuable resource for young people living in the area who are seeking a career in the Arts or would like to explore the Arts.

UForChange - Toronto

The Prince of Wales visiting Yonge Street Mission and UForChange (Photo courtesy of UForChange)

Currently, UForChange has a new home located in a building beside Daniel Spectrum and Paint Bistro. Their new space is undergoing renovation for cycle 8 to begin in May. If you are within the age of 16-29, you can apply on their website at www.uforchange.com . The deadline to apply is April 27, 2014.

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