Power of One: Art leads to confidence
Published Sunday, April 15, 2012 3:56PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 8, 2012 4:48PM EDT
SAINT-JEROME- It might seem unconventional, but Jennifer Cooke has found a way to help those struggling with economic and physical challenges.
At ICI par les arts, an impressive youth centre in Saint-Jerome, people of various ages use art and music to create, while changing their perspective on difficult circumstances.
Cooke believes that art should be used as a medium to help people who are underprivileged or struggling with a disability overcome their challenges.
"There are kids here who are eating garbage, kids here who are poor and are living horrific everyday lifestyles, that you go, ‘Oh my God, I want to do something,'" said Cooke.
Saint-Jerome is home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Quebec, making the centre a busy place.
Cooke runs countless arts programs – from the playing percussion to musical performances and even the Japanese comic art of manga.
The centre has given Jean-Philippe Daoust a second chance.
"When I first came here, I didn't really believe in myself," said Daoust. "But now I feel like nothing can stop me."
Once very shy and introverted, Tiffani Troji said the group gives her a sense of identity.
"I became prouder of who I am, because there used to be nobody there with me who understood me and now there are," she said.
For these participants, every small artistic feat translates into something much larger.
"Art allows them some success and once they have that success, they have the taste for success and they transfer it to other areas in their lives," said Cooke.
A special fundraising gala for ICI par les arts takes place Monday, April 23rd at 6:30 p.m. at Steak Frites St. Paul, 86B - de la Gare, St- Sauveur. All proceeds go to the organization. Tickets are $125.