Ink Movement Recaps their use of The ACCESS Fund
Ink Movement’s mental health conference, Souly Speaking, was a success! The conference, a recipient of the Bright Ideas Pitch, was based on the idea that in order for youth to be an advocate for mental health, and to take care of their own mental health, they must have the tools and knowledge to do so. At the conference, youth were exposed to the experiences of youth like them, youth who had experienced fleeing war-torn countries, and neurodivergent individuals. We genuinely believe that mental wellbeing programming needs to be delivered in a down to earth, non-clinical manner, that’s where art and Ink Movement comes in!
- 65 attendees from the ages of 8-16
- 3 workshop facilitators and 3 keynote speakers
- $1000 ACCESS Grant used
We had three workshops which all had the dual purpose of creating a safe, comfortable space for youth to learn self-care techniques, and to facilitate organic conversations between youth attendees and facilitators from different backgrounds.
1. Turkish Water Marbling (Ebru art)
The facilitator, Hacer Ozkan, was instructed to discuss her experience with being an older, new immigrant to Canada and how she used Turkish Water Marbling as a means of subverting social isolation, maintaining a connection with her cultural background, and using ebru art as a means of educating Canadians about Arabic culture.
2. Spoken Word Poetry
Michelle Hillyard is a spoken word poet from Mississauga and workshop coordinator for the Mississauga Writers Group. She has performed at various venues throughout the GTA, including Toronto Poetry Slam's women of the world qualifier, and both their individual and team finals, and will be competing at the Burlington Poetry Slam team finals this month. She is a proud neurodivergent mother of three autistic children, and her workshop addressed her experience with autism acceptance, mental illness and body positivity.
3. Slime Making
This workshop was actually facilitated by a member of Ink Movement and her 10-year-old sister. It was a relaxing workshop which eased the transition between the two more content heavy workshops and keynote speeches.
We chose speakers of different ages with varying lived experiences with mental health to share their stories.
1. Michelle Hillyard
Michelle, who was also a workshop facilitator, spoke about her experiences as a proud neurodivergent mother of three autistic children, and her workshop addressed her experience with autism acceptance, mental illness and body positivity.
2. Shahed Al
Asmi Shahed is a 19-year-old newcomer to Canada and a Syrian refugee. She spoke about the toll that fleeing Syria and living in refugee camps had on her mental health and ability to live in Canada and adapt to the Canadian education system. Her resilience, strength, and ability to believe in herself was genuinely inspiring.
3. Pujita Verma
Pujita Verma is the Mississauga Youth Poet Laureate and a TedX speaker who spoke about her experience with mental wellbeing as a woman of colour.
Congratulations to the Ink Movement team and volunteers for hosting a successful conference!
The ACCESS Fund is proud to support these efforts and many more through the Bright Ideas Pitch.
Educate. Empower. Inspire.