Q: Jill, I’m a black youth interested in learning more about HIV/AIDS prevention within my community. I’d like to either work with or join a youth or adult organization that focuses on this area. I would also be interested in at least volunteering with one for my community hours. Can you point me in the right direction?

A: Thanks for writing Shernelle. There are definitely great youth options you can start looking into today. Have you heard of the Black Coalitions for AIDS Prevention? That’s your first stop! There you will find out about the Mate Masie Kwanzaa and Yoga Youth Project. The Mate Masie Project for youth of colour ages 15-24 really works to engage young adults on issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS and STI prevention education through workshops, guest speakers, community outreach, but most of all through instilling a real desire for individual youth to step up and take their responsibilities seriously in protecting themselves, others and getting the word out to their peers. The project includes an eight-week workshop series, a weekend retreat and wraps up with a graduation ceremony. Graduation is on March 17 from 6-10p.m. at Lula Lounge and is open to the public. This would be the perfect time for you to meet and mingle with the organizers and participants.


For more, visit www.black-cap.comor e-mail matemasie@black-cap.com.

Q: Hi Jill, I enjoy your column very much. Since the end of January this year, I have written about 12 or 13 poems (two of which are not yet quite finished). Most of them are in honour of my father who passed away last July. Please let me know if you can point me in the direction of any good publishers. I’d really appreciate this Jill.

A: Judy, in honour of your father, I can only say kudos to you for tapping into your memories of him as an inspiration for what sounds like a very creative, personal and courageous project. I recently had a loss as well and I’m personally hoping to take the memory of his hilarious sense of humour and inject it into mine!

As for publishers you are right to do your research first. I would advise you to check out the Ontario Arts Council (www.arts.on.ca). There you will not only find information about publishers but you might also want to consider applying for some writer’s grants to help you with your work. Also check out Toronto’s Sumach Press (www.sumachpress.com). I’ve always found them to be helpful with my questions and I’ve had many!


Jill Andrew CYW, BA (Hons.), BEd, MA ‘08 is an award-winning journalist and educator with additional expertise in the performing arts, public speaking, PR, media literacy/awareness, fundraising and entrepreneurship.


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Jill’s tip of the week

  • Thinking about starting a career in a field you have little experience in, but you don’t have the funds for retraining? First steps: Read and research the field, attend workshops, go to information interviews, and connect with a mentor. Don’t give up on your dream only to stay in a job you detest.

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