Your support has helped empower so many youth through the arts while also giving us the power to create the safe spaces necessary to share our human rights stories


That’s why I got into this photography project - I want to push my life forward.
— Michael (iAM participant)

Our iAM program inspires youth to see their own artistic talents

Here is just some of the impact since 2015

In 2015, we worked with at-risk youth who identified as homeless. Since then, five no longer live on the streets and several remain involved in our programming.

The iAM project grew from six participants in 2015 to 25 in 2016, reaching more marginalized individuals in our community.

Our rotating galleries have been attended by more than 5,000 people , earning over $8,000 in photo sales with 100% of the profits going directly to the youth participants and their families.

Our project grew from six artist mentors in 2015 to 19 mentors in 2016, creating more opportunities for local artists and providing them with the skills to empower others.

Several participants from 2015 have returned as artist mentors in 2016, creating leadership opportunities for our next generation of talented artists!

The iAM project has been featured on numerous media platforms including VICE, CBC, CTV, The Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Canadian Press, Metro (front page), Huffington Post, and more. 


We've been able to create the kinds of safe spaces necessary to share some of our world's most important stories

I am so inspired by what I saw today! These youth are so incredibly talented. It was refreshing to hear their successes and dreams while learning more about their personal journeys. Thank you JAYU! I’ll definitely be back next year.”
— Sandra (gallery attendant)

From some of the youth participants themselves...

When they asked me to write my story, at the beginning it was hard for me… [but] after a few days it was amazing because after I shared it with my friends and the group I felt really comfortable and happy.
— Waleed (iAM participant)
I learned quite a bit, there’s some really cool places to take photos, places I’d never think of going, you showed me those.
— George (iAM participant)
I would like to teach people actually in the shelter system. Why? Because I’ve been through it and it’s not fun going through it, and now that I’ve been through this program, I love it.
— Nathan (iAM participant)

You’re brought in as the mentor, the instructor, and then you turn around and you’re like ‘I was learning all day!’ I don’t even feel like I imparted any knowledge onto them. They were teaching me about life.
— Adeyemi Adegbesan aka @soteeoh (artist mentor)
don.jpeg
As a photographer myself, seeing your work on a wall is a game changer. You see so many digital images floating around but once you finally see something you’ve created on a wall and people enjoying, it speaks volumes.
— Don Lane aka @dleeezy (artist mentor)

When the Centre for Social Innovation hosted JAYU’s iAM exhibition, it quite literally provided a series of snapshots into the lives of Canada’s newcomers. Using art as a tool to share the stories of newcomers, iAM lowered the barrier to engage with a serious issue and humanized the stories we usually only see through the curated lens of media.
— Adil Dhalla (Executive Director, Centre for Social Innovation)
“I had the pleasure of working with the JAYU team during the opening of the iAM exhibition in the summer of 2016. It was refreshing to be amongst young, passionate and talented people, working towards a common goal of skill building and community development.”
— F. Morrison (Markham House gallery)

Our iAM exhibition has been featured in numerous media platforms across the country, helping us spread the youth's art and stories while instilling in them the confidence that they are talented!


Help make sure that JAYU has the resources available to run its programming throughout the year and continue to share some of our world's most important human rights stories through the arts.