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Teen raises awareness

<p>Jerema Hewitt is not your typical teenager. At 17, she has proven her commitment to her community and long-term goals. She recently started Arts Roots Perception (ARP) — a monthly program geared at educating youth about African-Canadian culture — and won an award for her community involvement and career successes from the East Metro Youth STEPS Program, which showcases achievements of youth in Scarborough.</p>


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Cameal Johnson, manager of the Scarborough Youth Resource Centre, left, works with Jerema Hewitt on the Arts Roots Perception program.


Jerema Hewitt is not your typical teenager.


At 17, she has proven her commitment to her community and long-term goals. She recently started Arts Roots Perception (ARP) — a monthly program geared at educating youth about African-Canadian culture — and won an award for her community involvement and career successes from the East Metro Youth STEPS Program, which showcases achievements of youth in Scarborough.


“I refuse to put limitations on my dreams,” says Hewitt.


Hewitt says she became involved with raising African-Canadian cultural awareness because she was not impressed with the limited access to African-Canadian studies at her high school. Through the ARP program she encourages participants to question injustices in their community and to come together as a group with suggestions on how to create change.


Currently, ARP participants are working on creating a dramatic production on what they are learning in the program.


Cameal Johnson, manager of Scarborough Youth Resource Centre, where the ARP program is held, says she was behind Hewitt’s dream for the program from the start.


“Not only was I encouraged to support her ARP program proposal after seeing evidence of how successful a similar program she ran at her school had been, but I was also inspired to nominate her for the lifetime achievement award,” says Johnson.


Hewitt says this program is a great way to help youth and emerging business owners establish mentor relationships with others and network.


“This program is aimed to educate anyone regardless of their cultural background. The aim is to create a buzz...a thirst for learning. Participants can expect to hone their leadership, team building and critical thinking skills while learning how to not only feel comfortable with their cultural roots, but how to express them both professionally and creatively using a host of creative mediums,” says Hewitt, who has a background in dance.


According to Hewitt, life is the greatest art form and we are all artists.


“The sooner we realize that, the faster we can tap into all the benefits of artistic expression to help build our bright futures. Why not use something fun to get the job done?”


For more information on this program e-mail info@syrc.tropicanacommunity.orgor jempress@gmail.com.


 
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