June 19, 2014 4:23 pm

How a community initiative is giving at-risk youth opportunities

TORONTO- Sketch is an arts-based community development initiative that engages homeless and marginalized Canadian youth from the ages of 16 to 29.

Rudy Ruttimann, the executive director of Sketch believes the program brings out the youth’s true potential.

“By getting to know these young people, you get to see the incredible potential and the beauty of what they have to offer, the possibilities start to come out of them,” Ruttimann said.

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Spoken word artist Joel Zola, a participant at Sketch, credits the “non-judgmental’ atmosphere at Sketch for opening up opportunities for at-risk youth.

“It’s provided youth with hope, you know, it’s provided youth with opportunities, it’s making a difference where it’s created a space that’s non-judgmental,” Zola said.

Sketch has recently built a 7,500 square-foot creative hub at Artscape Youngplace in Liberty Village for the young artists. The program boasts various courses including writing, painting, silk screening, dance movement, cooking, gardening, pottery, textiles and environmental arts.

Caela Butt is a participant in one of the initiatives programs called Stool School.

“Stool school is a Sketch initiate to get young people involved in carpentry and woodworking,” Butt said. “We got to build our own woodworking project, we get to pick whatever we wanted and see it through from the design stage all the way to the finishing stage.”

Ruttimann says that the program is not limited to Sketch itself,

“Our vision is that the skills will continue to deepen so that when they do leave, that they are ready and as ready as you can be to live a full and participatory life,” Ruttimann said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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