Showing posts from May, 2007

Strategic Meeting!

On Friday, Regent Park Focus staff/volunteers (for the record: Steve, Tyrone, Christian, Angela, Pat, Adonis, Emmanuel, Sam and AJ) met at the Goodwill on Bloor Street to do some figuring out with our supporters and partners. I suppose there was about 20 of us there. Carol from the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum was there, Sheila from George Brown, I met a man named Kirby who is going to help us bring the magazine out to the schools and other community sites. Our meeting facilitator, Chris started off each segment in the meeting by telling philisophical stories from different parts of the world. He had a long ponytail and was very friendly. When I walked into the meeting room, we had a conversation about Quark, the program I use to layout the magazine. He answered a few of my questions. At any rate! The meeting started off with all of us contributing to a time line history of Regent Park Focus, from approximately 1990, to the present. I think a couple of people quipped that we

Catch da Flava radio show, Tuesday May 22nd.

Yesterday on the Catch da Flava radio on CKLN, Steve Blair hosted a segment about alternative schooling. The guest was Dillon McManamy. McManamy is the student coordinator of SEED Alternative School located at Broadview and Dundas. On the show he talked about the importance of the Toronto public alternative school system and how they provide students with choices in education. Alternative schools evolved out of the hippie movement of the sixties which sought to challenge the classroom authority of the teacher by creating environments where everyone contributes to the learning process. Prior to sixties the standard notion about schools was that teachers knew everything and can do no wrong..while students were empty vessels needing to be filled. Although things have changed since the sixies, generally speaking McManamy feels that alternative schools tend to be more democratic. According to McManamy, students attending alternative schools have more say in how and what they're learni

O'Connor Partnership

The Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre works with a wide range of community partners. One of the exciting partnerships involves six youth from the O'Connor community. These youth are participating in a 14 week digital media program involving the production of radio, video, music, magazine and photography. Tasha and Ashley, two young women in the program, began their activities by carryout an extensive search for people to interview for the What's Your Beef section of the new Catch da Flava mag and the radio. For this project they recorded random street responses to the idea of banning cell phones in high schools. After editing the interviews and producing a radio piece Tasha and Ashley were on hand on May 15th to lead the radio collective into a heated discussion on the right of students to carry and use cell phones at school. Right now Ashley and Tasha are working on a short video PSA about harassment in the workplace. In their video a girl is starting a new job

Last day rehearsal and breakdance program crew party

On May 15, 2007 the B-Boys and B-girls involved in the Regent Park Focus Break-dance Program held an end of the school year party. The Break-dance program is a weekly after-school opportunity for young people to engage in physical fitness through the art of Breaking. The program, which started 2 years ago, was not widely advertised and with only four members weekly had crept on a D-low until January of this year. Throughout January, Jerry Z the volunteer coordinator of the program, spent a lot of time outreaching to students at Nelson Mandela school. The result was tremondous. A large number of enthusiastic students from the ages of 8 to 14 registered in the program. Under the direction of the break-dance instructor Joseph Hersco, a true head in the arts of B-boying, the kids learned many new skills and funky moves. They also learned how to work cooperatively together and about the positive/non-violence side of the Hip Hop culture. The sucessful program is expected to run again

Shooting for Change

On April 14th 2007, Lalita Krishna premiered her new documentary "Shooting for Change" as a part of the Reel World Film Festival at the Rainbow Cinema (Front St.). Krishna is an award winning Toronto based documentary filmmaker who is renowned for mixing social awareness and education in her work. In Shooting for Change she documented Adonis and the Focus program, filming us for about three months. The end result is a movie that highlights the Regent Park Focus community initiative and brings to light a side of Regent Park that is less often shown in regular news media - a community that is full of hope and working together to empower their own neighbourhood. Shooting for Change played before a packed audience. It was a good change of pace, putting Focus in front of the camera instead of behind it. For all of you who missed it, Shooting for Change will air on OMNI television in the near future. Stay tune. AJ


Did you know that RPTV videos produced by the Regent Park Focus team are regularly aired on TV? Well they are. The Hijab, a RPTV video produced by a group of young women this past summer, aired on Saturday morning the 19th on a CBC program called The Outlet. The Outlet is a childrens' program that comes on every Saturday morning. As part of the program they regularly feature short videos made by youth all across Canada. It looks like videos produced by Regent Park youth will be a regular feature because this weekend (May 26) the Outlet will air The Adventures of Bikeman (Part 1) and that's not all. The Adventures of Bikeman parts 2 and 3 will air on June 2nd and June 9th 2007, respectively. The producers are lovin it. Check it out. AJ and ADONIS

Arts Hamilton

On May 11th, the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre (Emman, Ray, Adonis, Steve, Tyrone and Christian) was invited to the downtown Hamilton library to showcase a screening of videos produced by Regent Park youth. The screening was part of an event sponsored by Arts Hamilton called, Tackling Poverty through the Arts. The event was inspired by a book called "Looking for X" about a young girl living in a single parent family in Regent Park. Because of her low income background and people's sterotypes about Regent Park the girl gets blamed by her peers and adults for bad things that happen at school that she never committed. The girl feels trapped, hungry and angry with the world. Because her mother is so busy working and taking care of her baby brother, the only person that she feels can understand her problems is a homeless person named X. Unfortunately X is no where to be found when the girl most needs her. Similar to the book, the purpose of screening Regent Par

Hello Blog!

Hey guys, So here it is! The Regent Park Focus blog! The Dundas streetcar is a mess right now, so let this be your most direct route to the projects, happenings, socio-melodramas and all of the excitement that you're going to want to be a part of this summer here at 600 Dundas. Okay, so here's the scoop: Recently the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (yes, the CBC) has requested episodes of RPTV o be aired starting this Saturday, May 19th 2007 at 11:32am on a program called The Outlet Yes that's right...This means that you to can learn the art of producing your own videos and become rich and famous like all of us! The Regent Park Focus video program runs every Thursday so get over here and register, like, today! Is the Globe and Mail a little too national for you? Is the Toronto Star too megacityish? Want something you can relate too..more local but with a view of the big picture? Well you read the rest now join the best. Catch da Flava magazine is yours for the

Jamaica Anansi stories comes alive in Regent Park

What a day of fun and activities, as Jamaican born storyteller Joan "Bumpyhead" Hutchinson came to Regent Park at to bring alive the spirit of ANANSI . Anansi is a cultural hero in West African folklore; a very important god and infamous trickster. Anansi stories have become a part of many cultures, which include African, Jamaican and the American South. You have probably heard an Anansi tale sometime in your life. In addition to telling Anansi tales, Joan Hutchinson taught the audience a little bit about Jamaican patois. Patois is a French term that originated to describe the local dialect of the French language. Quebec has a lot of Patois, and Africa too. Caribbean patois and that of the American South, when it's a French dialect is more recognizably referred to as creole. . Jamaican patois refers to the English Jamaican dialect, and Hutchinson discussed common Jamaican idioms and sayings, explaining how Jamaican patois served as a strategy to speak in front of slav