Youth Art Engagement Project (YAEP)

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Youth Art Engagement Project (YAEP)

Lower Mainland, CanadaCoquitlam, Canada
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The YAEP is a multi-session project that engages high-risk youth in social justice art creation while raising awareness about sexual exploitation.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Youth Art Engagement Project is important to our community because sexual exploitation is happening in all B.C. communities and can affect any young person regardless of their age, ability, ethnicity, gender, religion, income, geographic location or sexual orientation. Sexual exploitation leads to multiple, long-term disadvantages to the victim including addictions, disease, abuse, social stigma, trauma, barriers to future employment and education, and premature and preventable death. 13 is the average age that children reported their first experience of being sexually exploited through the sex trade.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The YAEP is a multi-session project that engages high-risk youth in the creation of an artistic project aimed at raising awareness about the issue of sexual exploitation, while fostering youth leadership and youth voice. Youth participate in nine 2-hour sessions facilitated by Facilitators who provide ongoing mentorship and guidance to participants. Each session includes one hour for activity-based learning and one hour for art experimentation and creation. This project incites leadership skills in youth that don’t usually identify as being leaders, as they may face multiple social disadvantages. Youth select the type of creative project which may take the form of a visual art piece, poem, or anything else they choose. The project will wrap up with youth sharing their project with the larger community through an art exhibition event and the creation of a youth art calendar. The purpose of showcasing the art and calendar is to celebrate the youth’s work while raising public awareness.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The YAEP is important to youth because it gives them a voice in issues that are directly affecting them. Due to the fact that high-risk youth may feel stigmatized because of past behaviour, this project provides them with a sense of belonging and an opportunity to be recognized as leaders among their peers and in community. The YAEP will build transferrable life skills such as problem solving, creativity and collaboration, which will have an enduring impact on their lives beyond their participation in the project. Given that this project heavily involves art, youth participants will also gain a multitude of skills in the process of art creation. The Canada Council for the Arts reported that “participation in the arts helps young people develop self-confidence and achieve higher academic performance”, which is important in building protective factors.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

As the leading organization in BC addressing the prevention of sexual exploitation, we’ve built a strong reputation in the community by delivering effective prevention, awareness, and early intervention programs.

Founding Story

Children of the Street Society was co-founded in 1995 by Executive Director, Diane Sowden, in collaboration with a group of parents personally affected by sexual exploitation. Diane’s daughter was recruited into a life of commercial sexual exploitation at age 13 by an older “boyfriend” who introduced her to a lifestyle of drug use. Despite a life of school, soccer and family vacations, her daughter quickly became dependent on drugs and was soon forced to sell herself to pay off her drug debts. She is still on the streets today. Our Society was created in order to PREVENT this tragedy from happening to other families.