The Remix Project gives youth an opportunity to explore creative industries. Tara Deschamps reports
Hidden behind Allan Lamport Stadium in Liberty Village lies a small building that houses The Remix Project — a charity that educates youth ages 16 to 22 in the creative industries.
Remix participants use the facilities to develop documentaries, clothing lines, albums and other creative work. Some students now attend Ryerson, such as first-year journalism student Beza Getachew. She credits Remix with teaching her skills that she uses at Ryerson.
“She had only one or two published pieces beforehand and after [she graduated] she had multiple pieces published,” said Bryan Brock, Remix’s creative arts program leader.
“I know it’s going to help me when I get to second year and start doing broadcasting because I’ll already be ahead,” said Getachew.
Participants are learning from staff members as well as industry mentors.
“They go from entering the program with little to no skillset to exiting with, hopefully, a great knowledge of whatever they want to learn,” he said.
Brock said students are especially excited when Remix brings in special guests speakers.
“The fact that we have access to all these celebrities — they’re only one phone call away — is a huge bonus and benefit to the program and to the youth,” he said.
He believes their visits make a difference for the participants.
“It’s one thing to see them but it’s another to realize that what they’re doing is attainable,” said Brock.
Some participants in the Remix program have been victims of violence, are young parents or are youth with a criminal record.
Although they do accept youth from all walks of life into the program.
“There are just so many varying degrees of what at-risk could be and we don’t like to stick to only the traditional sense because we find that there are so many people out there that are definitely lost,” he said.
The project was started by Gavin Sheppard, a youth and charity advocate in September 2006 when he renamed the Inner City Visions organization he was working with The Remix Project.
Applicants go through a rigorous application process based on need and dedication before being accepted into the program .
Brock, who is also the co-founder of the Toronto campaign 1LoveT.O., was a graphic designer and art director before he mentored youth at Remix.
Brooks Peterson, a 21-year-old participant in the program, said Remix is a great opportunity for anyone interested in creative work.
“Remix puts you ahead. They have the best connections,” he said. “It’s a tremendous help for anyone who’s trying to make it.”