Meet Gareth, a young man who spent his early childhood in a refugee camp on the border of Burma and Thailand before his family moved to Ottawa in 2006. Just months after arriving in Canada, while still learning English, Gareth joined OrKidstra – a decision that would change the course of his life.
OrKidstra gives children the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of playing and singing together. It helps Ottawa youth, ages 5 to 18, from underserved areas gain critical social skills like respect, teamwork and commitment that are all a part of making music: skills that benefit both the individual and the community.
Gareth’s OrKidstra experience has come full circle. Not only is he a graduate of the program and pursuing his career goals, but he’s now a mentor; inspiring kids just like himself. It’s stories like Gareth’s that inspire TELUS to give where we live and support programs like OrKidstra.
“My time at OrKidstra has made me feel nothing in life is impossible. Through teaching young musicians, I have learned to be patient, to be charismatic and always to be positive.” – Gareth
TELUS has given almost $100,000 in community grants to OrKidstra since 2010. This support has been instrumental in developing the program and reaching more children and youth. Currently, the program has over 525 students from 42 different language and cultural backgrounds. Students like Gareth who may not have otherwise been given the opportunity.
To learn more about OrKidstra visit OrKidstra.ca
Full documentary on the CBC Website.
Photos courtesy of Robert S. Vibert (RSV Photography).