Nataline Cardinal leads a warm-up exercise Drama in Education and Community student Nataline Cardinal leads a warm-up exercise for participants in the Changing the Odds program.

Summer program aims to change the odds in youths’ favour

An interdisciplinary theatre and arts program hopes to provide a model of change and growth for local youth.

The School of Dramatic Art, funded by Windsor Endowment for the Arts, has partnered with the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, Sandwich Teen Action Group, and Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women to present “Changing the Odds: Community transformation through the arts.”

The program, which began July 9 and will run through August 17, has engaged 30 Windsor teens in experiences with a view to expanding their horizons through Drama, music, dance and art.

Organizer Tina Pugliese, director of the School of Dramatic Art, says the artists, educators, and community stakeholders involved believe in the power of community arts to promote youth development.

“We are hoping that this going to empower them to believe that they can make a difference and that they have something to contribute,” she says. “Together we share a perspective of a Windsor-Essex in which challenged youth are equipped with the skills and abilities to spark positive change in their lives as well as in their communities.”

Besides Dr. Pugliese, the program’s facilitators include drama professors Diana Mady Kelly and Gail Murray; students of drama in community and education Nataline Cardinal, Alisha Gillam and Joe Tuccitto; and creative director Charlotte Le Frank of the Children’s Aid Society.

The participants, ranging in age from 12 to 16 years old, are developing a performance piece that will reflect challenges commonly faced by young people. They will present their work in a free public performance on August 16 and 17 in the Jackman Dramatic Art Centre’s Studio Theatre.

For more information about the program, contact Pugliese at 519-2533000, ext. 5045.