Rapper Shantelle Shakes takes the stage at ACCESS Charity’s Arts for Change event. Photo by Andrew Ly

ACCESS Charity event showcases singers, dancers, actors and poets ‘using their gifts for good’

By  Adanna Chigbo, YSN
  • July 25, 2012

MISSISSAUGA, ONT.- An award-winning faith-based hip-hop dance crew, an eight-year-old singer, an improv comedy group and spoken word artists were some of the artistic talent that showed their stuff at ACCESS Charity’s Arts for Change July 14.

Arts for Change is all about promoting local, artistic talent to inspire others to get involved in their communities, said Daniel Francavilla, president of ACCESS Charity.

“It is important to express the talents and gifts you have been given,” said Francavilla.

“Some of the youth artists here never had their work displayed publicly or a couple of them had little experience performing, so this gave them that opportunity to use their gifts for good.”

About 200 people were in attendance at Mississauga’s Gateway Centre for New Canadians for the “Celebrate Community” event.

There were many rounds of applause evoked by the soft chords of Jarryd Fillmore’s guitar playing, the high-pitched soprano of Josephine Paul’s voice, improv Elbow Dragon drama troupe and dance crew I Rock With The One, among various others.

Canadian-Iranian poetry hobbyist Vanessa Azizan did not feel shy when she took the stage in front of unfamiliar faces.

“When I got on the stage, I just felt this energy rush through me looking at those faces,” said Azizan.

Her poem centred on the silent voices in Iran and their rights and she hopes it inspires people to be more informed about Iran and the censored information in that nation’s media.

She hopes it will inspire people to search for the truth behind these stories.

“The media is one-sided, it doesn’t show their side of the story. I was trying to show their voices,” she said.

“I always wanted to inspire people but I never knew how to do it (until) I attended the ACCESS Charity Youth Making a Difference Conference earlier this year. It inspired me to want to share my story.”

Adrienne Beaudry, program manager with partner organization Volunteer MBC, attended with daughter Emilie.

“At this stage, there’s no one telling you what you can or cannot do,” she said.

“You are able to explore without restrictions and ACCESS Charity promotes that by supporting local talent.”

The proceeds are being used to fund a “Youth Making a Difference” award that will be given to a youth in the community who have been committed to social justice and change coming next year, said Francavilla.

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