The Diva Girls Group at Lord Dufferin and Duke of York P.S.

The Long running Divas Girls Group Program at Regent Park Focus has been incredibly successful. The program has given girls living in the community a place to socialize and explore their identities as racialized, young women soon to be entering the challenging world of teenagehood. In October, in an effort to meet the needs of more young women in the community, the program was expanded to two local schools. On Wednesdays the program is held at Regent Park Duke of York School. On Thursdays the program is held at Lord Dufferin. Both programs are coordinated by Emmie Carr, a Toronto artist. She is assisted by three York University teacher candidates, Kavita Persand, Marie Lee and Sara Cluer.

There has been many wonderful and meaningful creative exchanges between young women in the program and the facilitators. Some of the issues that have being tackled were: self-esteem, body image, communication, and positive role models. One activity, led by Kavita, involved asking the girls who their personal role-models were and to share why through talking, drawing and writing poems about the person. Another project that the girls worked on this fall was acrylic painting. In this activity the girls were asked to write their hopes and aspirations on a butterfly and then to abstractly paint them! On lighter days, the Diva Girls Group played get-to-know-each other games and relaxed. Also the Divas loved watching DVDs of series that explore issues such as Degrassi Junior High. These shows helped to facilitate group discussions. In the New Year, we intend to continue the process of using the arts to facilitate creative expression and sharing, while tackling some more challenging youth issues.

By Emmie Carr

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