Oliver Jones to host benefit for teens affected by violence
Published Monday, October 11, 2010 6:20PM EDT
Life can be exceptionally hard for teens affected by violence, but one local organization is working to teach kids how to face a future filled with peace and positivity.
Leave Out Violence, or LOVE, is a program for struggling teens seeking resources, and allowing them to express themselves through creative means.
Tivon Thompson said through LOVE, he learned to write and take pictures, expressing himself in a positive way.
"I started writing with LOVE, taking pictures to express how I feel and stuff I go through in my everyday life," said Thompson.
In place at nine Montreal schools, the LOVE program makes a major impact, said Allannah Murphy, who brought LOVE to James Lyng high school in Little Burgundy.
"What LOVE does in helping them to articulate what's going on with them, helps them to articulate ways to act differently, and that's certainly happened," she said.
"We can see kids going up to one another when a situation is arising and saying, ‘Maybe you can do that another way.' What else can you ask for in a school?"
Thompson, who has already graduated from the school, returned to share his experience with students.
"I started like most teenagers, going through struggles, a lot of challenges," he said.
"I let kids know the experiences that I've been through. I let them know that it's absolutely normal," he said.
Though the program is hailed as a success, organizers say they turned down two schools recently, because they didn't have enough funding for program coordinators.
"Right now we're at our max capacity and we're now looking for additional support so we can help more kids across the city," said Olivier Tsai, executive director of LOVE Quebec
Oliver Jones, the celebrated jazz musician from Little Burgundy, has stepped up to the plate by by performing with the Oliver Jones trio Wednesday night at the Gesu Theatre, with teens from the LOVE program helping to sell tickets and raise funds.
"I know that growing up in my district, I could have gone one way, either doing something criminal or doing something positive," he said. "It's a wonderful organization."
For more information on the concert, or to buy tickets, click here.