Toronto Port Authority Invests In Waterfront Youth

Toronto (March 7, 2012) — The Harbourfront Community Centre (HCC) is expanding its arts leadership program, Room 13 Toronto, to youth aged 13-17 thanks to $30,000 in new funding provided by the Toronto Port Authority.
Room 13 Toronto is the Canadian member of an internationally known visual arts program for at-risk youth which implements a resiliency-building strategy that encourages peer mentorship, studio management, entrepreneurial spirit, and team building. 
For the past three years, HCC had only been able to offer the program to children up to age 12. In the wake of the studio’s success, community youth expressed interest in expanding the program so that they could participate and personally benefit from the studio business model.
Starting in April 2012, 30 – 40 youth will meet each week with an Artist-in-Resident who will help the youth learn a wide variety of skills including visual arts (painting, photography, film, printmaking, etc); support the development of personal characteristics (leadership, communications, mentorship, empowerment, conflict resolution); and encourage the youth to play active roles in the studio’s operation, marketing and fundraising.
“Room 13 Toronto has such a significant impact on youth development and increases much-needed self-confidence,” said Tendai Mhute, HCC Board Chair. “Our community centre philosophy is to be a welcoming place for all and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to encourage social engagement and expand the personal resiliency skills of our neighbourhood youth.”
Room 13 Toronto youth may also have the opportunity to work with the Port Authority and the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association in developing a mural on the newly-installed acoustic mitigation barrier at the airport, facing Stadium Road.
Toronto Port Authority Board Chairman Mark McQueen said he was delighted that the TPA could back such a “worthwhile cultural endeavour for local youth”, noting that the donation is consistent with the Port Authority’s substantial financial support for cultural activities that directly benefit its waterfront neighbours.   
About Harbourfront Community Centre
Since 1991, Harbourfront Community Centre has provided a safe and welcoming environment for a diverse, multi-cultural neighbourhood. HCC works with the community to improve the quality of life for local residents and address the needs of vulnerable children, youth-at-risk, and isolated adults/seniors.

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Media Contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416 317 6405 (mobile)