A donation of more than $175,000 from the Windsor Endowment for the Arts will secure the future of a program that helps youth engage with the arts, the community and each other.
The pledge of support will extend Changing the Odds: Community Transformation through the Arts for a further three years of helping local youth experience discovery, risk, play, friendship, community and above all great fun. The program features a six-week summer arts experience and a new year-round mentorship component for participants, aged 12 to 18.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue the important work of this program, encouraging self-discovery and promoting self-development by young people who can most benefit from healthy relationships with peers, leaders and artists,” said Carolyne Rourke, president of Windsor Endowment for the Arts. “It would not be possible without the generosity of our funders, who are committed to this exceptional partnership developing the artistic and creative skill sets of local youth.”
One of those participants, 16-year-old Justus Elliot, said her experience has opened her eyes to new possibilities.
“Changing the Odds has changed my life,” said the Kennedy Collegiate student. “Sometimes it feels like young people don’t have a voice, but this program teaches you skills that let you be heard.”
Tina Pugliese is director of the UWindsor School of Dramatic Art, which partnered with WEA to develop and administer the program.
“Changing the Odds has involved our faculty and students in an invigorating interaction with a community made up of youth, leaders, artists and volunteers,” she said. “It has been an exciting three years and I look forward to its continued growth, thanks to the support of these generous donors.”