Justin Caruana and Michael Tabet-GrahamJustin Caruana and Michael Tabet-Graham enact a scene as part of Changing the Odds, a six-week program providing theatre and arts skills to vulnerable youth.

Summer program providing valuable experience to vulnerable youths

A program aimed at local youths is a safe environment where participants can express themselves, explore their hopes and beliefs, and nurture their creativity, says a UWindsor student helping to lead its daily sessions on campus.

Changing the Odds: Community Transformation through the Arts provides vulnerable youth with six weeks of training in theatre and related skills, but it’s about more than the arts, says senior drama leader Ashley Baez Abreu.

“They become leaders,” says the third-year student of drama in education and community. “By the end of the camp the youth develop what it takes to support and maintain a community.”

Teens aged 12 to 18 are creating their own music, text, choreography, and scene work under the direction of professor Meaghen Quinn in preparation for a performance next week. Since its inception in 2013, Changing the Odds has addressed a variety of concerns. This year’s theme is “How do we find balance in an ever changing technological world?”

Abreu says her work with the youngsters has polished her professional skills.

“Every single activity that we have, we get there through the techniques we learn in our courses,” she says. “It has definitely helped me develop within my career path.”

Read DailyNews next week for details of the public presentation by participating youths.