Summer Radio - Physical and Psychological Effects of Mental Health

This week, our third working in Regent Park Focus this summer, we broadcast our first radio show. It was an episode of Catch da Flava, one of the most traditional and long-going shows at Radio Regent.

We went live on Wednesday, July 10, at 11 am, for an hour-long show. The topic this week was Mental Health -  the physical and psychological effect of mental health problems, the broad scale of mental health, what to watch for and where to find help.

To discuss all that, we had two guest interviews. In the first half, we talked with two undergraduate students, Christine Nastor and Diana DeLeon, about their struggles with mental health, especially in high school.

After that, we interviewed Mike Stroh, founder of Starts With Me, a company that offers services for promoting mental health at schools and workplaces along with empowering families and individuals to increase their capacity for well-being. Mike answered our questions around the subject, talking about what are the…

Powerful By Nature - Pride!!!

Date:  July 8th, 2019 Hosts:  Kay, Chantal & Rhiannon Guests: Berkha Gupta, ED at LGBTYouthline
Topic: Pride Show

This is our show about all things LGBTQ+. We start off taking a deep dive in to the history of Pride and then we interview Berkha Gupta, the Executive Director of LGBT Youthline about the organization’s incredible work supporting LGBTQ+  youth across Ontario through their confidential and non-judgemental peer support telephone, text and chat services.  Kay, Chantal and Rhiannon end off the show with a round table discussion about sexuality, identity, coming out and more!

Listen here:

To learn more about Jessie’s Centre and/or the Community Education Program, please visit:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @PowerfulXNature

To talk to one of LGBTYouthLine’s trained queer and/or trans peer volunteers, call them toll-free at 1.800.268.9688 or if you’re i…

Little Divas' Blog Post - May 30th (Celebration)

This was the last sessions the Divas will be attending until fall. The session started out with a couple of games the girls played together. Some examples of the games the girls played included: charades, interview, riddles, and more.  The girls also decided they wanted to host a dance competition.
We then had a pizza party and talked about their plans for the summer. Seeing these girls grow and become aware of issues and the power they have has been amazing, they are very excited for the sessions to start again in October. When they had first arrived in the program they seemed very shy and remained fairly quiet, now it's clear to see how their level of confidence has gone up and many of them mentioned that it has helped them at school.
Thank you for this amazing year!

Little Divas' Blog Post - May 16th & 23rd (Photography)

The session on the 16th of May was used as a round table discussion to talk about the girls' opinion about the program so far.

After starting with a quick game, the girls started mentioning things they liked and things they would like improved about the program. They then completed their evaluations and started talking about things they would want to learn in future sessions.

On the 23rd, the girls went back to taking pictures, this time they were given even more control of how they wanted it to come out and therefore, they spent a long time situating themselves in places where the sun hit them the way they wanted it to.
They also played around a lot with their surroundings finding creative ways to take pictures. The pictures are shown below:


Little Divas' Blog Post - May 9th (Message to My Future Self)

This session the girls worked on creating letters they would write to their future selves. This got them really thinking about their future and what they would like to do.  This somewhat stressed the girls out because they suddenly felt pressured to have their life and future figured out. After some discussion, they felt much more comfortable leaving things unplanned and many stuck to little life lessons they wanted to state. Something the girls each agreed with was that no matter what, they needed to stick together. 
The purpose of this activity was for the girls to find values and characteristics of themselves that they would like to keep with them even when they got older. Many talked about positivity and bouncing back from negativity. 
While writing this and brainstorming the girls also found a way to pass time by doing riddles, they seemed to know a lot and had a few laughs trying to solve them together. 

The girls also mentioned taking a video of these messages so they could pu…

Little Divas' Blog post - May 2nd (Photography)

This session, the girls worked on photography. Since the weather was so nice we decided it would be best to go outside and get natural lighting for the pictures. The girls planned and took each picture, they worked on directing each other while also keeping lighting and the atmosphere of the picture in mind.

Near the end of the session, the girls talked about how much they enjoyed taking these pictures and started planning what they would do if they were to film a video instead. One of the girls was really excited about filming videos, she offered a step by step plan about what it would be about and who she would want in it.   Some of the other planned ideas that had to do with fashion and awareness, though we may not have time to do it this year, the girls are already planning for it when programs resume in fall.

Powerful X Nature - #DestigmaDepression

Date:  June 6th, 2019

Hosts:  Shakaila
Guests: Shanika, Doula & Mary Rella, Director of Community and Counselling Services at Skylark
Topic: #DestigmatizeDepression

On June 6th, our show was all about depression. Depression is a mental illness, specifically a mood disorder, with commonly occurring symptoms including feelings of sadness, irritability, anger and/or hopelessness, fatigue, insomnia, changes in weight in appetite, loss of energy and aches and pain. 11% of Canadian adults have had, have or will have symptoms that meet the criteria for major depression sometime in their life. Studies show that women are more likely to get depression than men and young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness, including depression, than other age groups.

We started the show off by interviewing Shanika, a doula, about her experience working with pregnant people and new parents with perinatal and postnatal depression. Then we interviewed Mary Rella, the Director of Comm…

Little Divas' Blog Post - April 25th (Magazine Writing)

This session the girls worked on creating magazines.  They picked topics and created a cover and began writing articles for it. Some topics picked included: Anti-bullying, fashion, feminism, and more!
The purpose of this project was to see how much they already knew about issues and what they wanted to continue working on and talking about.  It also helped to get a glimpse of the girls' interests. They were offered many different things to complete the project, these being pencil crayons, markers, magazines, paint, etc.
 When asked why they picked what they did, many mentioned how their topic impacts them.  For example, one of the girls talked about bullying, stating that she would like to educate people on things to do if they feel like they're being bullied. One of the other girls picked the topic of Feminism, she talked about how important feminism is and why it can help many people around the world.  The girls also mentioned being able to type up what they need to on the …

Photography Workshop Blog: April - May


Agally is an aspiring young man. He is eager to learn and already aware of the idea of photography and has creative perspective. We started with my curriculum I prepared for introduction to photography with detailed notes including the meaning of photography; why do we photograph; the different genres of photography; and the most major of all, Understanding Light.

The workshop is filled with video tutorials from critiqued YouTube and Agally was given homework to watch the videos in his convenience and to take notes of what he learnt and presented it in the next class.


After enough lecture and understanding of how camera works and its technical adjustments, Agally took the first shot in a studio setup and learned how to light your subject and adjust your camera to get the right photograph. On the following, we went out in Regent Park neighborhood and Agally has taken landscape, street and a few portrait pictures after proper approach and explaining why we are doing this. May w…

Music Production - March 14th

Today was the first day I had the pleasure of working with The Diva Girls. Up until this week students had been coming in and working on their own projects but the girls had something else in mind. They wanted to prepare two songs for a showcase they were putting on. After spending some time showing them the ins and outs of Logic, and the capabilities it has as a recording program, they informed me they had chosen to record "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys.
    Right off the bat I was impressed at how self confident these young women were. For students who had never recorded professionally or spent any substantial amount of time in a recording studio they were undaunted by the task at hand. Rather they approached recording vocals with such joy and enthusiasm, laughing during takes, and encouraging one another to do more, and push themselves further. They took turns singing choruses and verses, carefully practicing their parts to themselves before it was their turn to step…

Powerful By Nature - Weed Legalization & Criminalization

Date:  May 13th, 2019

Hosts:  Shuhita & Nicole

Guests: Caryma Sa'd, Criminal Lawyer
Topic: Weed Legalization & Criminalization
On May 13th, we decided to talk about weed legalization and criminalization. Recreational cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018 in Canada however, it was not decriminalized. For example, it is illegal to possess more than 30 grams of dried cannabis, to grow more than 4 plants per residence, and it remains illegal to sell cannabis. 
An estimated 500,000 Canadians already have a criminal record for possessing this now-legal drug. Although the federal government has said they will pardon Canadians with a record for simple pot possession, how accessible and just that process will be remains questionable. Charges for marijuana possession have disproportionality effected racialized communities, especially black and Indigenous people, and black and Indigenous people are given longer criminal sentences for cannabis related offenses. For example, a 2017 Tor…

Diva Girls' Blog Post - April 26th & 29th (Music Production Continued)

This session the Divas continued working on their music with the help of Glama. The girls divided themselves unto groups, 2 decided to do music production while the other girls decided they would like to create videos.
After some contemplating the girls decided they would like to change the song they were going to sing. They had 3 songs in mind and ended up choosing "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys, due to the very empowering lyrics.

The girls got through most of the song but will continue the rest next week. The other group of girls decided they would create their own song which they will record on the 29th.
The Divas who were working on the video were having a harder time on discovering what they wanted to film, after some talking they decided they would be making instructional videos, some examples being: hijab tutorials, clothing hacks, dances, etc. 
The session on the 29th was done with the assistance of John, he talked to the girls about creating audio and helped lead them i…

Diva Girls' Blog Post - April 15th & 22nd (Brain Storming + Music Production)

This session was used to brainstorm future project ideas. The girls talked about projects they would like to work on, this being podcasts and videos while also taking the radio into consideration. The girls then worked on creating a playlist they would like to play in the background during the showcase, some even asked if they would be allowed to film their own music video/record something.
Some ideas they had for podcasts revolved around mental health, gender-based discrimination, Islamophobia, the media and its impacts, and identity.
The following week (April 22nd) the girls worked on creating their own music with the help of John, the music producer at Focus. Working with logic they not only made their own beat, but some of them also sang some covers of songs they picked.
These will be on display during the showcase.

Amna Quaid Azam

Little Divas' Blog Post - April 18th

This session is the Little Divas' first session without the presence of Canvas.  Many of the girls mentioned that they would miss both the coordinators, but are still looking forward to the sessions coming up.  The girls came in and after having some snacks, began introducing themselves and went around the room showing the projects they had created and added more information on why each was important to them.
They then began to not only discuss what they had previously learned but also, discussed what they wanted to learn from the future sessions.  These being activities revolving around mindfulness and breathing, meditation, podcasts and radio shows, videos, photography and much more.
They also stated that they would like more in-depth information on being independent
One of them also stated that they would like to have sessions where they can talk with the older divas about the program and offer advice, this idea will be explored more in the coming days.

Amna Quaid Azam

Diva Girls' Blog Post - April 12th (Little Divas Showcase)

This session the Little Divas had a showcase and the older Divas were invited to watch!
While the Little Divas were getting ready the older Divas and I talked about the UofT Showcase and how they felt it turned out at the end. We then talked about the sessions leading up to it and how everyone's experience went throughout it.
Soon after, we were all invited into the room the showcase was happening at and the Little Divas talked about the work they created and we were able to listen to a song the girls had created and then watched a dance they came up with together which had the message of empowerment implemented into it.

Some of the pieces the girls worked on was a wall titled "Black Girl Magic", which included letters the girls had created to people they think embody Black Girl Magic. There was also a section titled The Future which included Time Capsules the girls created. More work created was on advertising, self-portraits, Taking back Stereotypes, the word feminist…

Timeless Generation Podcast Special: Interview with LOFT Community Services