The “I Do!” Youth Initiative
Background: “I do!” was an offshoot of a project at Agincourt Community Services called the Forced Marriage Project (FMP). It started in early 2012 to reach out to young women and involve them in a discussion about personal choice and issues such as dating relationship abuse, family violence and forced marriages in Canada. This project ends in 2013.
Goal: “I do!” was meant to engage young women in a creative dialogue surrounding the topic of gender violence and how young women can take a stand to end this issue. To help young women express themselves, through attending workshops teaching graphic arts and spoken word. This initiative was a step to have young women understand, acknowledge and own their personal choice or will, as well as, freedom from all sorts of violence. They got a chance to be vocal in demanding others to respect their rights. An important component of the project was to film participants and their works to create a documentary that carried the message of young women’s empowerment against gender violence.
People that were involved:
Graphic Art Workshop Facilitator – Tara Farahani
Tara leads the Empowering Young Women program at North West Scarborough Youth Centre. She has also taught young women to design projects such as t-shirts and tote bags. Tara always hopes to combine her two passions i.e., art and helping others to make her mark for a better tomorrow. Currently, she is studying Social Work at Ryerson University.
Spoken Word Workshop Facilitator – Whitney French
A writer of poetry and short fiction, Whitney has contributed to several magazines as both writer and editor. She is also engaged in literacy activism as she facilitates creative writing and spoken word art workshops for children, young offenders, teenage mothers and adults with mental disorders across Toronto. Her first collection of poetry 3 Cities was released in April 2012.
Spoken Word Workshop Facilitator – Sheniz Janmohamed
A graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at University of Guelph, Sheniz has been mentored by some of Canada’s most beloved authors, including Dionne Brand and Thomas King. She has performed spoken word at countless events in and around Toronto. She works with Mariposa-in-the-Schools, an initiative that brings spoken word and storytelling into the classroom. Her first book Bleeding Light was published in 2010.