Unity offers free programming to youth in underserved neighbourhoods in communities across Canada including Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. These programs are offered in schools and community spaces.
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INSPIRE performances are free, educational, short-term offerings that inform young audiences about Hip Hop art forms and their power to positively express stress and anxiety. Unity uses these outreach engagements to point young audiences to local Hip Hop and mental health resources where they can seek further arts education and supports.
Unity partners with educational institutions, community centres, non-profit and social service organizations to deliver free Hip Hop programming to youth (12-29) in predominantly underserved communities. These weekly programs are 8-30 weeks in length, are delivered year-round, and make up the bulk of Unity’s youth-focused Hip Hop education. Some programs are multidisciplinary and introduce participants to all of the Hip Hop art forms, while others are art form specific, and seek to build the foundations of an amateur or entry level artist’s skill set. Through these programs, youth participants improve mental health and well-being outcomes, and are given significant roles in mentorship, performance, evaluation, and volunteering so they may contribute to the well-being of their communities.
Unity seeks to empower youth and emerging Hip Hop artists by providing employment, professional development, volunteer and leadership opportunities to further support their development. Unity’s primary EMPOWER opportunity is our artist roster, a front-line team of over 65 multidisciplinary Hip Hop artists that deliver all of our INSPIRE and ENGAGE programs across Canada, with many artists recruited from Unity’s ENGAGE programs.
Guided by its Theory of Change & long-term Strategic Plan, Unity has a robust evaluation system to measure impact and employ an ongoing feedback loop that informs programming revisions and decisions based on participant needs and feedback. Unity has a full-time Evaluations staff who annually reviews International Medical Corps’ toolkits, World Health Organization’s publications, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Resilience Factors, Mental Health Commission of Canada’s reports and Public Health Agency of Canada’s reports to guide Unity’s evaluations strategy in partnership with Unity’s Programs & Evaluations Committee. The Committee consists of program youth, young adults, program staff, leadership staff, and sector experts with a combined 40+ years of experience in youth programming, evaluations, and mental health.