The Learning Enrichment Foundation’s youth-focused centre has added colourful artwork to its interior.
About 20 young people from three community groups in the Weston-Mount Dennis area collaborated over five days to design and paint a mural. The work of art was revealed to the community at the LEF Weston Road location on July 26.
Youth from LEF, Urban Arts and the summer Youth Policing Program were on hand to accept certificates for their hard work.
“When we give, especially young people, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to express themselves and do it in a fun way, that builds self-esteem and it builds also other skills such as team work – all valuable skills that a person can take with themselves for the rest of their lives,” said York South-Weston MPP Laura Albanese, to the audience at the unveiling.
Adding to the bright colours that mark the inside of the centre, the mural covering the better portion of one wall showcases a group of cartoonish youth from a variety of cultural backgrounds dancing, singing and carrying signs that read: Diversity, Community and Teamwork.
The project was spearheaded by Olanike Solomon, 22, a co-op student on placement at LEF from Humber College’s child and youth worker program. She felt a large blank wall in the facility needed a meaningful change.
“It basically brought the community together because there was youth that came to do the mural that I didn’t even know,” said Solomon. “Some of them (youth) knew each other, some of them didn’t. So also, they made new connections and new friends as well. It was really engaging.”
Participant Felicia Francis-Ali, 14, lives in the Weston-Mount Dennis community with her sister and her mom. Felicia said she drops in at LEF at least once a week, sometimes all week. The mural project has been important to her.
“It shows diversity and that different cultures could actually come together and enjoy each other’s company,” she said.