Race for Kids - Youth Finding Their Voice

Youth Finding Their Voice

Boys and Girls Club youth are making their voices heard on social issues—and they’re doing it in the most creative ways imaginable.

Made possible by the generous support of the Government of Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, 10 Boys and Girls Clubs received a $6,000 Creation Nation—Youth Take Charge grant to support an arts project that reflects the youth perspective on social issues.

While Boys and Girls Club of Truro youth tackled topics like bullying, sexuality, substance abuse and depression through theatre, Saint John Boys and Girls Club members created a powerful song and music video titled “I Wish.”

Saint John’s song, “I Wish, I Wish on a Falling Star My Troubles All Fade Away,” has shone a national spotlight on the New Brunswick city‘s very talented youth, attracting over 20,000 views on YouTube and airtime on 97.3 The Wave. The song’s lyrics encourage youth to believe in themselves in the face of adversity and that the world is full of endless possibilities.

“I hope today is good to my heart, because a smile is overdue,

I wish, I wish on a falling star, that I do what I hope to do,

I hope this year doesn’t treat me as hard, and I hope we stay the same,

I wish, I wish on a falling star, that my troubles all fade away.”

The upbeat tune was written and composed by Owen McCluskey, Katie Charlie Ross, Hayden White and April-Lynn Venial, while the music video, filmed in and around Saint John, was directed by Steven Doiron. They spent several nights during the Club’s Evening Youth Program writing and recording their parts under the guidance of Kyle Wills, the Club’s music program coordinator, who advised the youth on production techniques.

Back in Truro, a group of 20 Boys and Girls Club youth used the performing arts to speak up about the issues concerning them. Performing a series of skits in front of a 70 person-strong audience, they presented a typical day at junior high; everything from dealing with anxiety, sexual orientation, difficulties at home and selling drugs. They also shared statistics on cyberbullying, gangs, smoking and drinking to add perspective during each scene.

The Club’s youth coordinator, Sonya Chisholm, said the youth welcomed the opportunity to share their message through art.

“They wanted to get their message out. They are standing up to bullying; they’re leaders and they’re developing the skills now that will allow them to have a healthy life,” she said.