Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer 2010

Jamaica 2010

The violent outbreak on May 22, 2010 which shook the country of Jamaica, forced the TAP Executive to spend a considerable amount of time in conversation with associates both in Canada and Jamaica investigating the best possible way to proceed with the 2010 Jamaica Project. The final conclusion was reached that, for the safety of both the Canadian and Jamaican participants, it would be in everyone’s best interest to postpone the project for 2010 and commence again in July 2011. Our desire is that the additional time and resources gained will allow us to offer a more enriched experience for the participants next year.

TAP members have worked hard throughout the summer to create care packages for each of our participants. These packages include items such as hygiene products, non-perishable food items, flip-flops, toys, and writing utensils. We are so grateful for the many donations that poured in after the TAP community was informed of our decision. The packages will be shipped this week to our participants across Jamaica!

In order to maintain TAP's presence in the lives and communities of the participants and in order to strengthen the Jamaican Leadership Team, TAP has decided to host the first ever Leadership Intensive Program in February 2011, bringing ten members to Canada for a 10-day program including workshops lead by local educators and artists as well as a chance to interface with Canadian youth by entering local high schools to showcase their talents.

Canada 2010

Although TAP did not run its fourth annual Jamaica Project in July 2010, we had the opportunity to introduce two new projects in Canada.

For the first time, TAP partnered with Youth Options for Success (YOS), an organization based in the Niagara Region which creates programs to help promote strong families and healthy communities, and hosted the first ever “Arts Camp” in July 2010. TAP was responsible for providing workshops to youth ages 9 to 14 which allowed them to explore relevant issues through theatre, creative writing and improvisation. TAP will continue to work with YOS in the future, hoping to offer programs to youth and their families to help strengthen communication and ultimately, relationships.

TAP was welcomed by the Woodgreen Community Centre, a local non-profit organization that provides a range of services and programs to the Toronto East Community, in July 2010. The participants, ages 14 to 17, included 15 Aboriginal Youth from British Columbia and 25 Caribbean Youth from Toronto. TAP provided a series of workshops for four days including theatre, music, and dance, and on the final day the youth selected one area to present for the Final Showcase. One of the highlights was the workshop offered by guest artist Blakka Ellis entitled “Rites, Rights and Creative Writing”, which focused on the link between the arts, culture and human development. TAP has made a commitment to continue to work with the Aboriginal Youth by offering a similar program in their community in British Columbia in the coming years.

Wow! What a summer! Let the fall begin!

To find out more about what TAP is up to in the next little while, please join us for our Annual General Meeting and Eat So They Can Fundraiser on Sat. Oct. 16th in Hamilton, ON. More details to come...

Follow us on Twitter (TAP) or Facebook (TAP Group) or simply visit our new website!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jane Cooper-Eade

Michael(President) and I met when I was looking for a male mentor for one of my grade 6 students who was having issues with the law and had no male role models in his family. Michael talked about his current interests and projects – his music, playwriting, art etc. and we have been friends since. As a retired school principal, I looked at participating in TAP as an opportunity to reconnect with kids in a creative way. I have always been passionate about children and the arts and TAP became the perfect venue to combine both of my interests. I am very excited and look forward to the upcoming Jamaican adventure.

-Jane Cooper-Eade, Board Member/Jamaica 2010 Art Facilitator

Sunday, April 25, 2010

TAP's Conception

I love every opportunity I get to talk about TAP and what has become my biggest passion: the arts. TAP was conceived in a 3rd year Drama in Education classroom at Brock University where I and 17 of my classmates, were infused with the desire to share our talents with youth from our professors’ hometown in Kingston, Jamaica. The course was called “Alternative Forms of Theatre” and in our particular year, the country of focus was Jamaica and our professor was a Jamaican-born dub poet. After seven months of hard work running fundraisers, planning arts workshops and organizing all the finite details, the dream crystallized into reality in June 2007 with the first ever TAP Pilot Project.

One of the most distinct feelings I had upon landing on the island was fear. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be good enough; that they wouldn’t respond to our ideas; or that there would be no kids in attendance. All of those fears dissipated quickly the first day of the program. We brought enough white t-shirts and tye dye for 100 students and to our delight, we didn’t have enough (we designated some of the students to spray the tye dye). Over 100 kids showed up that first day. On an average day there were approximately 80 students, ranging in age from 7 to 18 years old, who participated in a series of workshops including mask-making, theatre, dance, music and creative writing. After successful program, the students hosted a showcase for their parents and teachers to display their performance pieces (plays, dances, songs, etc) which they wrote and produced on their own.  We were students ourselves and although the team was thrown into many unknown situations, the more we came together as a team and let go of control, the better the result.

Fast forward to July 2010. The team will head to Jamaica to run the fourth annual arts program. Approximately 30 of the students who attended the Pilot Project return year after year and altogether we have welcomed over 200 students from across the country to participate in a free, two-week arts program. The first year I asked myself, “Will there be any students there?” and now I’m asking myself how I’m going to turn them away. There is a buzz around the TAP Program in the five communities we work with. This summer will be my fourth year in a row and I am now the Program Director. After seeing first-hand the transformative power of the arts, I am impelled to work with TAP to give as many students as we can an opportunity to find alternative ways to voice their opinions, express emotions, develop new talents, and for some, even learn how to swim.

What makes TAP such a great organization is that young adults are given the chance to learn about themselves and others, and to enhance their art form from the artistic exchange they have with the participants. In 2009, TAP began the Scholarship Program offering two members from TAP's Youth Leadership Team the opportunity to attend the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica. They are currently completing the second of a four-year Bachelor of Arts program.

A wise author named Steven Pressfield wrote in his book entitled “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles“, “When inspiration touches talent, she gives birth to truth and beauty” and ”there never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.”

I truly believe you can do anything you put your mind to.

Tiffany Stull, Co-Founder and  Executive Director