Press

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 1997

2015

Regent Park Learning Focuses on New Media

Regent Park Focus is a new media, radio and television arts broadcast centre that since 1990, has been using community arts and participatory media practices to increase civic engagement, promote resiliency, and effect positive social change through the use of media technology and the arts for marginalized youth.

RPTV-P4K engages qualified media arts professionals to lead 36 youth in the process of creating four scripted television dramas and four street-interview-style game shows from conception to broadcast. The program is aimed at engaging residents in their community, with some show themes relating to Toronto's Vital Signs Report issue areas, and how they connect to Regent Park. The programs will be broadcast to the local community on Regent Park TV.

Youth will gain exposure to community resources, exercise their creativity, and cultivate technical broadcast skills in a state-of-the-art television studio. They will learn script-writing, story-boarding, HD camera operation, control room equipment operation, teleprompter and green screen use, interviewing techniques, microphone positioning, sound engineering, directing, hosting, and editing. Participants will also cultivate life skills through the process of working collectively in a team and taking on leadership roles as well as by brain-storming/planning, goal setting, time management, problem solving, negotiation, consensus-building, and conflict resolution. Youth will develop analytical and critical thinking skills by researching show topics, interviewing content experts, and learning to deconstruct mainstream media messaging.

This unique program will help Regent Park youth work to actively confront mainstream media stigma and negative stereotypes about low-income populations and young people, and it will empower them to become active producers of media, instead of passive consumers. Moreover, the training provides critical experience that will enhance participants' future academic and career aspirations, as well as their social capital and personal development as engaged citizens.

Stay tuned to www.playingforkeeps.ca for calendar updates of their events and video postings of their Neighbourhood Games.

2013

April 9, 2013

Stories @CSI: Regent Park Focus putting a lens on the positive with community-created media Submitted by Barnabe Geis

CSI Regent Park
Regent Park Focus

By Lisa Ferguson, CSI Reporter

There is no doubt Regent Park is in a period of massive transformation. The revitalization of Regent Park is converting what was once Canada's oldest and largest social housing complex into a mixed-income, mixed-use community.

But change is happening beyond the cranes and bulldozers, and has been happening long before construction started.

"I think if you search you could see many, many examples of the change that residents themselves are making," says Adonis Huggins.

Regent Park FocusAdonis is the Executive Director of Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre (Focus), a new media, radio and television arts broadcast centre that empowers community members, youth in particular, with arts and participatory media skills to communicate local needs and priorities.

Started in 1990 in the basement of a since-demolished Toronto Community Housing apartment building, Focus was part of the Ontario government's FOCUS Community Program aimed at promoting community health in nine vulnerable communities. Funding flowed through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

From a new state-of-the-art production studio (just around the corner from their office in the Centre for Social Innovation Regent Park in the new Daniels Spectrum arts and cultural centre), Adonis explains that video production was originally used to engage youth because it fascinated them. Becoming camera operators, directors, producers, writers, actors and reporters provided the youth with an outlet to discuss issues relevant to them and the changes they wanted in their community.

More importantly, they shared positive stories about the community. "This community was very stereotyped," Adonis explains. "It was really negatively perceived. But residents had a different perception. And we wanted to give them a voice to be able to represent their own community."

From video, Focus grew to experiment with other storytelling media. Despite numerous successes—including program graduates entering or studying to enter the media industry—the organization has also faced many challenges, including the loss of one-third of its funding when the FOCUS program was cut. But Focus is "still here," Adonis says, laughing.

Regent Park Focus Studio"Not only are we still here, but we're still growing and developing. We could have not built a TV station, and saved all the money, and reduced staff, but we did the opposite: poured the money in, hired more staff, and moved into this space—it's risk-taking, for sure."

Through a new partnership with Rogers TV, Focus will soon start programming RP60, Regent Park's own television station. This dedicated, closed-circuit, text-based message board will help improve information flow in the community. As Adonis explains, it's difficult to keep a community as big and as culturally diverse as Regent Park well informed. "People who've lived here for years don't know some of the organizations, the services in the community, the opportunities available to them, the events going on in their arts and cultural centre, and what changes are happening, particularly with the redevelopment, until it actually hits them."

After two decades of sharing Regent Park's positive and empowering stories within the community, Focus is now fulfilling its vision of showcasing this culturally dynamic neighbourhood to the rest of Toronto by producing Regent Park Community TV, or RPTV, a one-hour weekly program about Regent Park, to be aired (beginning May 2013) on Rogers' Community 10 (accessible throughout the Greater Toronto Area). Additionally, the station will produce shows about Regent Park to be broadcast on the internet.

RPTV is also meant to build social inclusion within Regent Park. As the redevelopment process triples Regent Park's population, Focus hopes RPTV will maintain a sense of community, and empower residents to participate in and contribute to the growth of their community. "People will tune in to know who their neighbours are, their customs, their languages, who's doing what, how people are making change, and how they could get involved."

Community members are invited to collaborate with Focus staff to bring their show ideas to life. "What it's all about," Adonis stresses, "is the community seeing this place as their place and not something where they have to ask to get involved. We want them to tell us what they want to do."

If there is one thing that Adonis has learned about making social change, it's that it must be rooted in the community. "We always wanted to go in the direction of reaching a wider audience, having more impact. So the question was, 'How do we get there?' Having a community that's on board, that has a vision of where they want to go empowers you to say to your partners, 'This is something the community wants.'"

Want to help Focus reach a wider audience? Back its campaign on CSI's Catalyst to crowdfund $12,000 for field cameras to gather community news for the Rogers Community 10 show. In the meantime, access community-created content online at regentpark.tv and on Radio Regent (online streaming radio station), and check out Focus on Facebook and Twitter.

Original article can be found at socialinnovation.ca
April 16, 2013

Regent Park Community TV needs funding to launch

Local youth to steer programming of one-stop venue for residents and non-residents

City Centre Mirror
ByJustin Skinner

Regent Park's ongoing revitalization has seen the community welcome a new grocery store, a bank and plenty of other firsts.

Now, the downtown neighbourhood is coming closer to introducing its own television station.

Regent Park Focus and Youth Media Arts Centre is looking to start up Regent Park Community TV, a one-stop venue where residents can learn of upcoming events and those outside the community can gain some new insight and a greater understanding of the oft-maligned area.

Youth at Regent Park Focus have produced videos in the past, many of which have been uploaded to YouTube. The creation of a television station would bring those videos and other information out to a wider audience.

"We felt more people needed to see our material, especially people in the Regent Park community," said Regent Park Focus director Adonis Huggins. "It will all be youth-created content, so we're trying to engage young people to look at issues affecting our community and society."

Huggins said one of the key areas of focus will be breaking down stereotypes. Some paint Regent Park as an unsafe neighbourhood where crime and violence are rampant.

"We just want to put Regent Park on the map," said Regent Park Focus youth board member William Khan. "Usually, people view Regent Park as a really violent place, but we want to show that we're creative and we're a really great community."

The channel will also offer information on everything from the ongoing Regent Park Redevelopment to community events and could even be used to announce birthdays and milestones being celebrated by local residents.

While the initial plan calls for a one-hour program on Rogers Cable 10 that would showcase Regent Park to all of Toronto, there are also ambitions to set something up just for the community.

"We're looking at RP60, which would be a closed-circuit channel only available in the Regent Park area," Huggins said. "For that, we could set it up as a text and graphics-based news channel."

Local youth will steer the programming, and Regent Park Focus is training youth from the area to ensure they have the necessary skills to make it a success.

Youth Iman Zein has learned to write a script, create a storyboard, use a camera and edit film through Regent Park Focus and is looking forward to sharing her own stories and experiences.

"We'll be able to reach out to a bigger audience," she said of the possibilities of Regent Park Community TV.

Regent Park Focus is currently seeking funding to help get the project off the ground, looking for corporate sponsors and private donors.

Tresvonne Wilson, who has worked on several media projects through Regent Park Focus, said the creation of a Regent Park television station could serve as a template for other communities.

"I hope to see it blow up and influence other communities," he said. "It could show other communities around Toronto that this can be done and can really help give people a voice."

The concept needs help getting off the ground. As of April 16, the initiative was roughly $10,000 short of meeting its $12,000 goal with just over 18 days left to make up the shortfall.

Original article can be found at insidetoronto.com

2011

Toronto CBC New

CBC covers Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre's 20+ Anniversary Celebration and Open House.

Sway Magazine

Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre is featured in Sway Magazine.

Now Magazine

"The revenue from this week’s cover “sellout” goes to Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre, a youth organization that helps kids develop media creation skills. Seems like a natural choice, and Regent Park is just around the corner from the NOW building  at Church and Shuter."

Now Magazine - Sell Out Issue

Article Sourced from Now Magazine

Global TV


Regent Park Focus is interviewed by Global TV, for its work in the Regent Park community.

2009 - 2010

Documentary about Regent Park Focus "Shooting for Change" continues to air on OMNI1; now also in Bengali.

Synopsis:

"Regent Park is a neighbourhood in downtown Toronto infamous for violent gangs, poverty and drugs. While some of those things are present, most people living here are just regular folks trying to live their lives like anybody else. But the danger for their children to become involved in less than savoury activities is certainly there.

Enter Adonis Huggins, a man with a vision. He's running a unique media program called Regent Park Focus for the local kids that not only gives them a creative outlet, but it also allows them to define themselves to a world that is only too happy to slot them into negative categories.

There's Josneara, a young Muslim girl who's making a film about the hijab – and deciding for herself whether or not she wants to wear one.

There's Nicholas, a boy who overcomes the negative effects of bullying by turning himself into a superhero in the film called BIKEMAN.

Then there's Tyrone. While everyone around him was falling into gangs and becoming tragic victims of violence, Tyrone was making films. Today, he works at Regent Park Focus teaching younger kids those same skills.

Through the power of filmmaking, these youth are taking control of their lives and learning who they really are and where they come from."


2008

Bike Man wins the Tim Horton's Award for Best Community Film at Cabbagetown Short Film and Video Festival. Awarded after screening at the Cabbagetown Theatre.

bikeman

National Post

Neighbourhood must-seeTV

Andrew Chin, National Post
Published: Saturday, February 09, 2008

For most Torontonians, day-to-day life in Regent Park is a mystery. It was designed that way. Walking by, on a trip to Cabbagetown or River-dale, one only sees the brown blocky exteriors of its buildings. But plans for a Regent Park TV station, RPTV, may give Torontonians a realistic glimpse of daily life in the area.

The station is part of Regent Park Focus, a drug-awareness program that provides media training to youth in the area. Participants produce a quarterly magazine and broadcast a 30-minute radio show on Tuesday evenings on CKLN. The group offers free youth programs on video production, photography, music production and Web design.

"Our hope with RPTV is that it becomes a fully engaged community process," says Adonis Huggins, program director for Regent Park Focus. "It would have a significant impact on the community."

Throughout its 17-year history, Regent Park Focus has already made an impact. Its facilities are accessible to interested youth even if they aren't enrolled in a program.

Three afternoons a week, participants from the O'Connor Focus group in Victoria Park travel to Regent Park. To them, the experience has been nothing but positive.

"Instead of [getting into trouble]," says Jessica Simpson, 18, "we can learn something."

In a recent three-hour session, participants were introduced to storyboarding and script writing and then asked to storyboard, shoot and edit a public service announcement on a topic of their choice.

"It's really about the youth who come in," says Huggins. "[For the O'Connor participants] it's really trying to encourage them to produce videos about their community. For the youth that come after school, it tends to be about reporting and covering different events."

For some of the participants, the program is providing them with the training and access to contacts that will assist in their pursuit of a media job. "I used to come here all the time two years ago," says Web site technician and Regent Park resident Fahim Mohammed, 19. Originally a participant, Mohammed will slip into an instructor role when Regent Park Focus's new Web design pro-gram launches.

The program's success is being replicated in other parts of Toronto. The Rexdale Protech Media Arts Centre opened last July and Regent Park Focus works in partnership with many community groups within the province.

With promising negotiations underway with Toronto Community Housing to move into a new 5,000-square-foot space that's above ground, Regent Park Focus's future looks bright. However, that doesn't mean Huggins can't see other avenues for growth.

"One of the things we haven't been able to do is attract the corporate support that a program like this needs," he admits.


2007

Regent Park TV Wins 2007 Mayor’s Community Safety Award

On December 6, Regent Park TV (RPTV) was presented with the Mayor's Community Safety Award. The awards were created by the Community Safety Secretariat to recognize the contributions of people and groups who work to make their community a safer place to live.

RPTV was launched in November 2006. It is a forum for youth, ages 12-24, to voice their experiences, share their stories and explore the issues that affect them and their community. The videos are produced by youth, with the support of youth staff, and are accessible in a range of formats including interviews, current events, debates, short dramas, documentaries, news shows, public service announcements and mockamentaries. Toronto Community Housing's Social Investment Fund is one of RPTV's key funders.

The videos can be viewed at www.regentpark.tv. The youth involved in RPTV meet regularly to discuss content and learn a range of skills in digital video and new media technologies as well as engage in production activities. RPTV is provided thanks to the support of Toronto Community Housing, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canadian Heritage, the Tippet Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, Tides Canada Foundation, Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, Exclusive Film and Video and the Drug Prevention Community Investment Program.

The Mayor's Community Safety Awards have become an important way to focus on safety issues at a local level, and to share the stories of organizations and individuals who are working to improve the safety of our communities. Winners are awarded with $1,000.00. This money is to be used to continue their work towards violence prevention.



2006

OMNI 1

Insync Video in partnership with OMNI 1 creates documentary about Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre, entitled, "Shooting for Change". In this video Adonis Huggins, Emmanuel Kendini and Tyrone MacLean-Wilson along with many of the youth involed, talk their involvement in the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre.

CBC The Outlet

Bike Man series airs on CBC The Outlet (an internet based video resource of films made by youth).

The Toronto Star

Toronto Star interviews some of the youth who worked on Bike Man.

Fuse Magazine

Fuse Magazine came to Regent Park Focus to ask our volunteers and staff how our summer program video workshop runs. Its strengths and its challenges. Around this time we were working on a video series called "Bike Man". A mini-series of which a hero by the name of Bike Man (played by Nicklus Rowe) who teaches youth the importance of Bike safety. This Regent Park Focus created hero can be seen on the cover of Fuse Magazine.

Fuse Magazine - Bikeman


2004

Share Newspaper G-G impressed with Regent Park Youth

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson toured Regent Park in downtown Toronto recently, where she met with students and observed the positive changes they are making in the community.

During her visit she officially opened the Regent Park Focus, a new photography gallery displaying the works of area youths.

Established in 1991, the program was created as part of a provincial government strategy promoting health to people living in vulnerable communities in Ontario. The gallery is dedicated to exhibiting the photographic works of young people and emerging Canadian photographers in the Regent Park neighbourhood.

“Coming here and meeting all of you from different cultural backgrounds, means I get a view of this community from the inside out, and I am very impressed with what I saw, including the plan for future development,” said the Governor General.

Adonis Huggins, program co-coordinator of the Regent Park program, said he was thankful that Clarkson was visiting and seeing the positive impact the students are having on their community. As a part of her visit the Governor General was interviewed on Catch Da Flava, a radio program operated by students from the area.

While in Toronto, the Governor General swore in a number of new Canadians at a citizenship ceremony. Article sourced from Share Newspaper - "GG impressed with Regent Park Youth"

2002-2003

Splice This - Annual Film Festivals

Regent Park Focus

Sunday June 22, 2003 8:00 PM A co-presentation with EYE video program

Last summer EYE video conducted a super 8 workshop for youth in Regent Park. The kids were encouraged to make urban-inspired films so they went ahead and made a bunch of smart, funny and brutally honest movies.

- All filmmakers are wise beyond their years and will be in attendance


2000-2001

City of Toronto Youth Violence Prevention

Regent Park Focus Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse

Through the use of media technology, Regent Park Focus provides a supportive environment where youth share decision-making, feel a sense of belonging, meet professionals in the field and engage with other youth in positive activities. They also learn about issues of relevance and express their creative talents and points of view. The program includes the "Catch Da Flava" newspaper and Web site, the "Catch Da Flava" radio show (broadcast live from Regent Park to CKLN 88.1), and e.y.e. video, production studio and photography.

Members of e.y.e. video are currently engaged in anti-violence workshops involving the screening of Last Witness, a 10-minute video that examines the socio-economic factors that perpetuate violence in the Black community. Last Witness was produced by e.y.e. this past summer, and vividly describes the murder of two young people. The video is accompanied by a workshop that explores the issues identified in the film. e.y.e. has also produced a video on globalization called Rock Against FTA, a video on billboard advertising entitled A Brand New World Order, and a video called Let's Talk about it: Khat and other Drugs.


University of Toronto

CATCH DA FLAVA!

Matt Capper

For most of us, Regent Park is not an area you want to visit. When traveling downtown, most of us will probably stay clear of it altogether. The general conception of this area is this: Low income housing, crime-infested and dangerous. I decided to risk my life and wonder beyond the ever-so-classy district of Toronto’s Yonge-and-Dundas-area. It failed to surprise me that I was not shot at or mugged. The fact of the matter is that Regent Park only seemed as dangerous as the walk to the Fossil every Tuesday night. After all, it is Scarborough that had the highest murder rate in 2002.

My objective was not to see if Regent Park was really as bad as it is said to be. Instead, I was invited to watch a group of young Regent Park residents, who refuse to conform to the media stereotype that has been placed on them, put on a live radio show, which discusses the issues of Regent Park and the surrounding area. The organization is called Catch Da Flava and it is the brainchild of a very enthusiastic Adonis Huggins. ...

Article sourced from The Underground Online - "Catch da Flava!"

The Toronto Star

A message to youth: It pays to be creative
Art Reach Toronto will spend $1.2M on youth projects Hard-to-reach kids in troubled areas first priority

SUSAN WALKER
ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER

For the past 15 or 20 years, artists, arts organizations and the agencies that fund them have been trying to prove — in the face of government cutbacks — the value of supporting the arts.

Mostly the focus has been on consumer spending and the job growth the arts fuel. Mostly, governments and politicians didn't listen.

All that time, the most persuasive evidence for supporting artists could have been found close to home, in the neighbourhoods whose residents can't afford to attend the opera, the symphony, the ballet or the theatre.

Studies have found that in these underprivileged communities, young people thrive when given a chance to express themselves. Where crime is a problem, where the oft-heard plea to "get kids off the streets" has gone unanswered, a video project, a music recording studio, or free instruction in painting, mask-making or putting on a play is one of the most effective ways to keep teens out of trouble, in school or on their way to jobs.

Using the arts as a tool for social change is not a new concept, but arts-funding bodies in Toronto are just now embracing it wholeheartedly. ArtReach Toronto is the latest manifestation of a trend to put the arts back into the lives of children and young adults after arts education and job programs were killed by Conservative governments in the 1990s.

Projects funded by health and social services ministries, in GTA communities where violence, the drug trade and gang warfare have taken root, provided the inspiration for the Art-Reach fund. The pilot project will spend $1.2 million over three years on arts projects done by and for young people aged 12 to 25. Organizers expect to issue some grants within three months. Not-for-profit organizations, individual artists and artist groups working with youth are eligible to apply.

Those projects that come from the most underserved neighbourhoods will get priority.

At a launch this week, Toronto rapper and producer Kardinal Offishall described what public funding once meant to him. The Jobs for Youth program, a provincial initiative in the late 1980s under Bob Rae's government, paid his wages when he worked in an antique store. The now-defunct Toronto program Fresh Arts — supporting spoken word, music and visual arts projects — helped Offishall get started in the music business.

"We made a rap video and recorded it at Mr. Greenjeans in the Eaton Centre," he said, his speech actually being read by his associate Solitair in the youth-run Whippersnapper Gallery. Offishall had a last-minute conflict: a Los Angeles date to record a video with Eminem.

Art empowers, Offishall maintained, rhyming off the names of successful local artists — k-os, Little X, Jully Black, Saukrates and Divine Brown — who got their start in arts projects.

Shahina Sayani, a 32-year-old former executive director of For Youth Initiative, is the program manager of ArtReach Toronto. She's also a founding member of Grassroots Youth Collaborative, consultants to the program.

ArtReach is different from other granting programs, says Sayani, because "it actually supports youth as they are going through the granting process." The application forms have been simplified, and "listening to the voices of young people" is a priority, she says.

On hand to talk about what she meant was Adonis Huggins, director of Regent Park Focus. Funded since 1991 by the Ministry of Health and sponsored by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the $200,000-a-year operation is run out of a basement in Regent Park, Canada's oldest public-housing community.

"I did quit crystal meth, because I wanted to make this video."
Participant in Edmonton arts project

The centre is home to Catch da Flava newspaper, Catch da Flava Radio, E.Y.E. video youth productions and a photography studio. Huggins manages programs serving people aged 12 to 23. "All of them are over-subscribed," he says. Young residents, many defined as "at-risk," have learned how to communicate what their lives are really like.

With such models in mind, the eight bodies that contribute to ArtReach Toronto have had to learn to co-operate. Canadian Heritage, the three arts councils, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation and United Way of Greater Toronto are the main partners.

Talks began on the development of ArtReach two years ago at the Intergovernmental Roundtable of Arts Funders and Foundations. Instead of just trading information the group decided to design a joint project involving youth.

"We had two objectives," says one of the group, Denis Lefebvre of the Laidlaw Foundation. "Youth engagement through the arts and learning to collaborate as funders."

Some of the agencies were already focusing on helping young people in trouble through the arts. Laidlaw, for instance, had recently reformed its arts mandate to "enhancing the well-being of young people, through engagement, diversity, social inclusion and civic engagement."

Art is a tool for social change "but," says Lefebvre, "there's also the intrinsic value that arts bring. Young people talk about beauty, fear, horror — what artists generally do, trying to reflect society through an artistic medium."

It's no accident that youth-run arts projects create innovative and intriguing art. And ArtReach is flexible in its definition of art: it can be jazz or classical music, puppetry, documentaries, circus arts or multimedia.

"The arts are very powerful," says Sayani. "At FYI, I saw how programs engaged the most hard-to-reach kids. Sometimes it's only an arts program that will bring those young persons through the door, provide a creative means of expressing themselves (and) an outlet for anger or feelings about issues in their community that they don't know how to deal with.

"We had a group of young males that had no access to services. We put in a recording studio and suddenly they had an opportunity to speak about how they felt and do something really positive."

There is a lot of research to back up the social improvement outcomes expected from ArtReach, says Patrick Tobin, director of strategic policy and communications for the Department of Canadian Heritage in Toronto.

His department reviewed research by Robin Wright, of the McGill University School of Social Work. One of her studies examined the iHuman Youth Society in Edmonton, where young offenders are referred for rehabilitation. The teens willingly signed up for arts instruction. After 10 weeks they all reported an improvement in life and outlook. Said one participant: "I did quit crystal meth, because I wanted to make this video."

"The results were phenomenal," says Tobin, "in behavioural improvement, socialization, attachment to school and to jobs."

ArtReach represents a tough learning curve for arts agencies that have developed into bureaucratic fiefdoms.

"We all think we have our niche," says Lefebvre, "but we know that there is overlap. We don't collaborate and we should."

That may be changing. Among the interested parties circling the project, says Tobin, is the Raptors Foundation, charitable arm of the Maple Leafs and Raptors. Organizers are hopeful the Raptors' interest is a sign that ArtReach is just beginning to spread its arms.

Tamil Canadian Services

Filming Regent Park's heart - Festival offers new perspective

"This is a lot different from any other film festival. We put a lot of heart into it. Our stuff is full of feelings and emotions," said Vinh Duong, 21, who has lived in Regent Park since his family moved to Canada from Vietnam 15 years ago.

"We want to tell our stories and express the hardships that we go through here. People (outside) think that we are a violent, drug-filled community, but we are not. We are like (people in) Rosedale, we have a strong community here."

Adonis Huggins, a youth worker at Regent Park Focus, said the community centre's media program started in 1995 out of a local desire to find a voice in the media. From there, participants started their own quarterly paper, weekly radio show, photography and video production workshops.

Huggins was hesitant when... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from Tamil Eelam


The Eyeopener Online

Campus becomes forum for hope

"Media is a powerful tool and it does control the way we think," says Vinh Duong of Regent Park Focus. He recognizes that mainstream society often sees these youth in a negative light and that a change needs to occur.

"The news is filled with propaganda and the alternative media need to grow somehow so it can allow people to see both perspectives [the good and the bad]."

These groups are challenging the status quo in hopes of proving that there are young people in "at-risk" areas who care about their communities and futures.

Their enthusiasm for the improvement of their neighborhoods was evident in all of the days' discussions.This was especially true when asked if they would stay with the programs after the novelty wore off.Several of the students responded by saying... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from the Eyeopener


The Globe and Mail

As Regent Park falls, a Hopeful Vision Endures

It's interesting how a few extra facts and a shift in perspective can turn a symbol of decay into a sign of hope, but that's pretty much what Adonis Huggins has been helping young residents to do here for more than a decade.

Mr. Huggins, runs Regent Park Focus, a program that lets young people dabble in print and radio journalism, photography, filmmaking and music production. His work has just been recognized by "face the arts," a campaign by the city and Toronto Life magazine to acknowledge people who enrich Toronto's cultural life.

Mr. Huggins's program engages young people in... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from The Globe and Mail

Rabble News

Guns and Gangs: Looking for Solutions

Politicians need to open their ears and do some thinking about Black youth in Toronto rather than reacting to a year of intense gun violence with racist notions about crime, say leaders in Toronto's Black community.

In late January, a panel discussion called Racialization of Crime: Anti-racist Responses to the Guns and “Gangs” Debate, was held at the Toronto Reference Library surprising organizers with a huge turnout.

Speaking to the overcrowded audience, M. Nourbese Philip, Rinaldo Walcott, Dalton Higgins and Kike Roach, a civil rights lawyer, weighed in on Canada's response to the much-publicized gun violence in Toronto.
Article sourced from Rabble.ca - rabble news Guns and gangs


The Toronto Star

Getting an education on race and crime

She was unused to public speaking and the auditorium was packed. She said she was a teacher at a west-end high school where a student there had been arrested after a recent and notorious shooting. We craned our necks to look at her.

We had come, some 200 of us, to listen to a panel discussion and to talk about race and guns and crime. The panel had just wrapped up and now was the time for questions. The woman's voice grew stronger.

"I came here because our schools are turning kids into criminals. Students aren't respected. They are held back. We turn them into animals. We suspend them. We kick them out. We're not teaching kids to read and write."

She confirmed a widely held suspicion in that room: Too many kids leave school — or are thrown... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from The Toronto Star - Getting an education on race and crime


The Toronto Star

Busting myths behind race and crime

One evening, said the librarian, there were young people in the teen room of her branch, doing what teens do. An older patron grew more and more upset until she couldn't contain herself — she came to the desk, got all hissy, and complained about "those youth."

I don't think it was the phrase, "those youth." I think it was the way the woman is reported to have said it.

But if you can guess the colour of the teens, and the colour of the patron, then you have an intuitive understanding of the problem of race in this town.

The meeting, held recently at the downtown branch of the public library, was organized by a youth-media group called Regent Park Focus. It was meant to be a public discussion of the racialization of crime in Toronto; it featured a panel, a couple of short films, and questions afterwards.

On the panel: NourbeSe Philip, a writer; Rinaldo Walcott, a teacher; Dalton Higgins, a music journalist; and Kiké Roach, a civil rights lawyer.

In the crowd: the usual suspects from the woolly left, plus various teachers, activists...

Article sourced From The Toronto Star - Busting myths behind race and crime


City TV Pulse24

Community Groups Vie For Stop The Violence Money

Meanwhile, the Regent Park Focus centre, where area youths in the city’s largest housing projects come together to learn photography, film, television and music production are also hoping to get some of the Stop The Violence money, as they’ve got a lot of equipment needed to make their dream a reality. The group is hoping to produce a documentary in the coming year, about the violence that has plagued...

Article sourced from CP24


The Toronto Star

These are people I know

Over in Regent Park, Angela Musceo is doing her part to build bridges. She sits on a police youth advisory committee that meets once a month.

Musceo, 20, is the outreach co-ordinator at Focus, a drop-in centre where 13- to 20-year-olds can get involved in filmmaking, photography and music. They've got their own show on campus radio station CKLN on Tuesday nights. Police Chief Bill Blair was a recent guest.

Musceo sympathizes with the challenges Blair and his officers face but insists the police need to get more involved in communities affected by violence.

"People feel like they only show up when something happens. There's no relationship. If a cop was in an area all the time, you'd feel more inclined to talk to them if you knew their name and who they were. Otherwise, people aren't going to trust or confide in them. There's always going to be that hostility if they're not part of the community. Things are not going to improve until... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from The Toronto Star - "These are people I know"


Now Magazine

Regent Park Focus keeps budding media mavens on track

In its inaugural year, Mpenzi makes black history personal with a slate of 10 films from North America, Africa and Europe about individual memories. The BBC film Reunion documents the small contingent of upper-class Caribbean women recruited by the British army to work as nurses and secretaries during the second.... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from Now Magazine Online - "Mpenzi"


CrossCurrents

Regent Park Focus keeps budding media mavens on track

It’s a common fault adults make – judging teens by the clothes they wear. And certainly Justin Walters, 17, looks every inch the hip hop dee-jay, his slight frame lost somewhere inside a slouchy white tracksuit.

It’s just two minutes until airtime at Catch da Flava Radio, located in an apartment building in Toronto’s Regent Park, Canada’s largest and oldest community housing project. Yet Walters is as smooth as any media veteran, sliding one palm along the table and cradling the mike in the other...

Article sourced from Cross Currents - Regent Park Focus keeps budding media mavens on track

The Dish

THE REEL DEAL

By Mey Mey Fung 18 / West Toronto Collegiate

MAKING THE MOST OF AN OPPORTUNITY

During the summer of 2004 I became a part of the Regent Park Focus Media Arts Program, where I somehow found myself in the position of Media Arts Production Assistant. Suddenly, windows of opportunity opened for me! ... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from The Dish - "The Reel Deal"


Suface and Symbol

Bringing flava to the community

By Andrea Raymond

Upon entering Regent Park Focus, I was greeted by an exhibition of photos documnting the people of the community. Led into the building by Adonis Huggins, Program Director of Regent Park Focus, I was surprised to find such a hub of artistic and media production in the basement of one of the many buildings of Regent Park, Canada’s largest and oldest public housing community. ...

Article sourced from Surface and Symbol - "Bringing flava to the community"



The Toronto Star

Filming Regent Park's Heart


"This is a lot different from any other film festival. We put a lot of heart into it. Our stuff is full of feelings and emotions," said Vinh Duong, 21, who has lived in Regent Park since his family moved to Canada from Vietnam 15 years ago.

"We want to tell our stories and express the hardships that we go through here. People (outside) think that we are a violent, drug-filled community, but we are not. We are like (people in) Rosedale, we have a strong community here."

Adonis Huggins, a youth worker at Regent Park Focus, said the community centre's media program started in 1995 out of a local desire to find a voice in the media. From there, participants started their own quarterly paper, weekly radio show, photography and video production workshops.

Huggins was hesitant when Siddan brought the idea to the agency because he wasn't sure if the community would support it.

"But we know the community would like to see themselves reflected through the media because all the (other) media only mirror what their reality is not (about)."

Thaseepan Mariyanayagam, 14, will have his 10-minute documentary Moving Out (about youth leaving Regent Park) screened at the film festival. "The whole thing about the festival is exciting," said the teen, who came to Canada from Sri Lanka seven years ago. "I'm so proud of it." ...

Article sourced from The Toronto Star - "Filming Regent Park's heart"

Metro News

Creativity Shines in Arts Course

Participants of the Regent Park arts program learn practical aspects of radio production.

A unique program that helps young Regent Park residents get a leg up is hitting a milestone this summer.

The Regent Park multimedia arts program begins its 10th year on Aug. 2.

Offered to students up to 24 years of age, the program helps prepare people pursuing post-secondary education or careers...

Article sourced from Metro News - "Media Arts Education"



The Toronto Star

Regent Park hosts Clarkson

"It's very special, very important," said Justin Goldenthal, an on-air volunteer at Catch Da Flava. Clarkson and Ralston Saul seemed to enjoy the sights and sounds of the community east of the downtown, stopping to look at scores of tulips coming up in a garden on Dundas St. E. ... (click below for the full story)

Article sourced from The Toronto Star - "Regent Park hosts Clarkson"



Now Magazine

Best influence on budding filmmakers

Regent Park Focus

416-863-1074 Who needs drugs when you can make movies? Home to a newspaper, radio station, photography studio and video production workshop, Regent Park Focus helps teens tell their own stories. Check out the results at Krank It Up! , their ninth annual film, video, photo and multimedia exhibition, Sunday (November 2) at Innis Town Hall .

Article sourced from Now Magazine


ICED IN BLACK

REGENT PARK FOCUS: Super 8 Film Festival Entries

35 minutes
2000, English

Various young filmmakers create their own unique short films through the Regent Park Media Project for the Super 8 Film Festival. Hip hop inspired videos that give you the taste of the neighbourhood, conquering fears, the end of the world, superheroes, mysteries, and horrors are some of the themes that these teens have caught...

Article sourced from Iced In Black Films


Canadian Dimension

Regent Park Focus

The Regent Park Family Drop-In Centre is located just east of downtown in the heart of one of Toronto's low-income communities. Here, in a windowless basement lit by flourescent bulbs and decorated with black-and-white photos and secondhand furniture, Adonis Huggins works to co-ordinate the Regent Park Focus Media Arts Program. The program has been running for more than ten years, in which time it has grown from a substance-abuse prevention program incorporating video into a multi-media resource that gives youth the chance to create Super-8 films, video documentaries, broadcast radio, audio art, a website and a community newspaper. Under the mandate of the Regent Park Focus Community Coalition against Substance Abuse, the program is supported by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Ontario Ministry of Health.

"Basically, the original idea was to do grassroots community prevention work," Huggins explains. "We were trying to figure out how to engage youth. We decided, instead of us coming to them with information, to give them the tools they need to find that information for themselves. So, in 1993, after stumbling for a few years, we started these... (click below for the whole article)

Article sourced from Canadian Dimension Jamming Out on Pop Culture


Centre For Addiction & Mental Health

Catch da Flava is a newspaper produced by young people involved in the Regent Park Focus Media Arts Program -- a substance abuse prevention program that seeks to use media technology as a tool for change-stimulating discussion, information sharing, awareness and action on substance abuse and other issues of concern relevant to youth. The program operates under the mandate of the Regent Park Focus Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse, a program of the Centre. Youth are involved in all aspects of production including writing, editing, design layout, advertising and distribution.


Community Arts Biannale

Outreach 2000


For the past year, youth from five different communitiy organizations in Toronto have been working with photography instructors at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography to learn creative photography skills. The resulting projects – ranging from soundscape photographs to slide projections – will be displayed at Gallery 44 as part of CAB 2000.

The Students Commission The Regent Park Community Project

Background


Who Am I?


I'm Dianah or D! I work at The Students Commission in the Toronto Office. As most of you know I am involved with the Sharing Resources 2000 project.

What Am I Doing?

This page is my community project. Although I work with The Students Commission supporting delegates with their community projects, I wanted to get involved with a youth group in my own community. I grew up in a low-income community and missed out on a lot of things because we were poor. We were recent immigrants to Canada from Jamaica. Among other things, we were learning a new culture; we were dealing with racism, and we did not have a lot of money. Although both my parents worked full time they were in low paying jobs. I am interested in helping other poor youth and youth of colour to get involved with The Students Commission.

The Project

I am volunteering weekly with a local youth group: the Regent Park Focus Community Coalition. Regent Park is one of oldest low-income housing projects in North America. A lot of assumptions are made about low- income neighbourhoods: including... (click below for the whole article)

Article sourced from TG Magazine

1997

CBC

Television Coverage of Regent Park Focus by CBC, aired in 1997.



Sign Up For The Focus Buzz!

FacebookTwitterBloggerYoutubeInstagramTumblrGoogle+

Supported by



Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre © 2016