Power of Hope returns to Sooke after a decade

Bringing out the creativity in youth through group sessions

The Power of Hope and the Edward Milne Community School Society invite Sooke teens aged 14-plus to register for a thrilling participatory weekend of theatre, drumming, hip-hop, spoken word, visual arts, songwriting, yoga and dance in mid-February at EMCS.

Returning to Sooke for the first time in a decade, the celebrated, Victoria-based organization will be in town on Feb. 16 and 17 for a weekend titled Positivity: Creativity, Diversity and Team Building.

Sooke teens will be joined by Canada World Youth exchange students, youngsters from the T’Sou-ke and Pacheedaht First Nations, and other teens residing elsewhere on the west shore.

Everyone will attend a pair of full-group sessions in the EMCS auditorium, then individuals can select from a variety of workshops led by Power of Hope facilitators, hip-hop artist Ndidi Cascade and local creative people skilled in music, theatre, art and more.

“It’s a chance to discover your creative potential in a safe, supportive and very positive environment,” says Gita John-Iyham, Power of Hope Canada’s director. “Participants will make new friends, learn about other cultures and end up with no doubts at all that an amazing artist lives inside them.”

The trainings are cool, accessible, fun and potentially life changing as testified by thousands of past participants across B.C. (including many Sooke teens-turned adults who did trainings back in the early 2000s). No art skills are required, only a willingness to grow and learn through group creativity in which no one is judged and all are encouraged to express themselves.

The cost for two full 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. days is $100. Breakfast and lunch is included. Sliding-scale “pay what you can” payments up to that amount will be accepted based on the honour system. The EMCS Society is seeking fiscal donations from the community to lower costs for any cash-strapped participants.

Power of Hope programs are famous for inspiring kids to overcome social pressures and take charge of their lives through art and positive self-expression.

“I enjoyed making many meaningful friendships and being able to exercise my creative ability without fear of putdowns,” says one participant quoted on the POH website (www.powerofhope.org).

“The core belief of Power of Hope is that by acknowledging the creative potential of our youth, rather than treating them as ‘problems’ to be solved, we may witness over and over again their remarkable transformation and inspired self-expression,” says Charles Taylor, who co-founded the organization in 1997.

“It has been a joy for me to watch my daughter’s enthusiasm grow for the experience and see the rewards Power of Hope has brought her, both in personal growth, increased self-confidence and in the wonderful connections and friendships it has given her,” said Dr. Andrew Weil, the bestselling holistic health writer and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Please contact the EMCS Society’s Heather Walsh for further information: (250) 642-6371 or email hwalsh@sd62.bc.ca.