MusiCounts and TD Bank Group are proud to partner and support youth music programs across the country. In 2018, 30 music programs from across Canada will benefit from instrument grants through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program. To celebrate, MusiCounts is highlighting a recipient program each day this week.
We spoke with Christopher Weiss, Community Engagement Manager at iHuman Youth Society in Edmonton to learn more about their program and the impact of the new instruments they received via MusiCounts.
Can you tell us a bit about your music program, and your participants?
iHuman Youth Society engages marginalized Edmonton youth to foster positive personal development, well being and social change. We support youth impacted by the negative outcomes associated with poverty, intergenerational trauma, addiction, mental health, abuse, racism, discrimination and exploitation. Over 500 youth between 12-24 years of age access us every year, 80% of whom self-identify as Indigenous. While we provide free access to our services and programs, we are not a drop-in centre – youth actively engage in determining their individualized journey through our resources and guide how we can support them.
All iHuman youth engage iHuman Studios. Activated daily, programmed spaces include music, fashion, visual art and performance studios. iHuman arts mentorship model is a powerful tool that facilitates healing, skills development, cultural connection and self-expression.
The Music Program recognizes that there is a spectrum of youth who attend and participate daily. On the one hand there are youth who walk in, and spend the entire day listening to YouTube or playing the guitar, and leave feeling accomplished and fulfilled. On the other hand, there are those who walk in, and hope to push the envelope, learning as much as they can to make a career through their creative efforts. The program seeks to fulfill the whole spectrum, and leave each youth feeling as enabled and empowered as possible.
Why did you apply for support from the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program?
iHuman applied to MusiCounts so that we can take further steps to create skills-building opportunities for youth in music production. Our hope is the leverage our new access to cutting edge equipment so that marginalized youth can build the real life skills to move on to professional careers in the field.
How will receiving these new musical instruments have an impact on your program and its participants?
Since its inception, the youth at iHuman have always been encouraged and pushed to become leaders and professionals beyond iHuman. Using the medium of the arts, they have been granted resources that not only allow them to discover themselves, but also develop themselves beyond what they thought possible. Even today, there are youth in the iHuman Music Program who are doing more outside of iHuman than ever before. These youth are using what they have learned through their time at iHuman to better themselves and their immediate communities.
Every coordinator at iHuman does their best to engage the youth on a day-to-day basis, but also thinks and looks to the long term. In the Music Program, that means arming the youth with skills and experience in an as close-to-professional an environment as possible. This will allow them to fully realize themselves well beyond iHuman, changing not only their lives, but the lives of other youth who are in the position they were. In such manner, a tide of change is affected – bringing these youth into full prowess, and transforming them into true leaders and advocates of change across the nation, and in whatever field and profession they desire.
Once you receive all of your new instruments and equipment, what are the next steps for your program?
iHuman’s new equipment means that we can outfit our existing performance studio to become a valuable, professional recording space. Effectively, our music program now has double the space and we can move forward with plans to provide training in music production and potentially build a social enterprise through a music label.Every day, demand among iHuman’s youth for our music program grows because it is not only freeing and unique, but now is equipped with top-of-the-line equipment. We couldn’t possibly provide this kind of professional environment without MusiCounts’ generous support!
Learn more about iHuman Youth Society’s programs and the impact they are making within their community by visiting www.ihumanyouthsociety.org/
Get to know more program recipients by clicking here . Stay tuned for our next “Meet The Recipients” feature tomorrow.