sttARTs Launch

This month we launched SttARTs (Storytelling through the Arts) in partnership with MASC and the OCDSB – an exciting program that teaches students how to tell their own stories and how to create an event to present these stories.

The launch took place at Sir Robert Borden where students from four intermediate schools across the district were welcomed to learn more about the program, meet the facilitators and learn what is expected in the coming weeks. 

About SttARTs

SttARTs was piloted last year to overwhelming success. At the end of the program, some adjustments were made based on essential feedback from stakeholders: participating students from 14 OCDSB classrooms, participating teachers and support staff, artists Jacqui and Jamaal, MASC Co- Executive Director Wendy Hartley and MASC English Program Staff, Youth Ottawa Coordinator Helene Boulay and ED Ian Bingeman, and OCDSB Arts Program and Learning coach Jennifer Boudewyn. SttARTs will be explored by Grade 7 and 8 students and will be guided again this year by MASC storyteller artist Jacqui Du Toit and Youth Ottawa’s Artistic Mentorship Coordinator Jamaal Jackson Rogers.

In the first six weeks of the program, Facilitator Jacqui du Toit will take the students through lessons of active listening, will lead them in structuring their own stories, and how to use non-verbal communication in presenting these stories. In the following four weeks, Artistic Mentor Jamaal Jackson Rogers will teach students how to promote and organize an art event where they will share their stories with an audience.

Storytelling supports many of the characteristics and skills of the OCDSBs exit outcomes: goal-oriented, globally aware, innovation and creativity, critical thinking, effective communication. The program also naturally explores curriculum expectations in drama and language arts.

“My struggle reminds me of how strong a person I am. That’s my story.” – Alaa Albadry

The launch welcomed first-year participant Alaa Albadry, who took the stage and shared with the audience her own personal story about her struggle with Eczema, and how this led to many years of bullying. Her story sent a powerful message of resilience and overcoming adversity and received a standing ovation from the audience.

“Youth Ottawa is delighted to be working with the OCDSB and MASC on this important project!  We’ve long known that hands-on, experiential learning through the arts is critical to the development of student voice; however, SttArts has been a revelation for how impactful arts education can effectively build connections to peers, teachers and community.  Jacqui du Toit and Jamaal Jackson Rogers are a dynamic duo, and students are in for a treat!.” Ian Bingeman Executive Director of Youth Ottawa

The Mentors

MASC Facilitator Jacqui Du Toit was born and raised in South Africa and is known for her animated stories from the motherland. She combines gestures, dance, singing, facial expression and dramatic impersonations that spark the audience: she captivates her audiences with more than just words.

Youth Ottawa Artistic Mentor Jamaal Jackson Rogers is a nationally recognized independent artist, creative entrepreneur and arts educator. He is the recently appointed Ottawa English Poet Laureate, a position that has not been occupied in the city of Ottawa for the past 27 years. As a mentor and arts coach with Youth Ottawa, Jamaal helps youth reach their goals within various artistic fields by teaching, inspiring and leading.

We believe that storytelling is a very important process that teaches us to love, to forgive others, to be just and to always strive to be the best possible person. We hope that this program acts as a fantastic teaching tool that will impact all participating students, teachers and facilitators. To learn more about MASC visit www.masconline.ca to learn more about Youth Ottawa’s Artistic Mentorship Program, visit our page here.