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Government of Ontario invests in arts programming for at-risk children
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Toronto, Ontario – May 9, 2018 – Ontario is supporting community building, arts programming, and support for priority neighbourhoods by investing in an after-school music education and social development program for at-risk children.

The Honourable Mitzie Hunter, MPP (Scarborough-Guildwood) announced yesterday that the Government of Ontario will provide $500,000 in funding to Sistema Toronto as part of an investment of $21 million over the next three years to provide students with access and exposure to arts education in dance, drama, music and visual arts.

Sistema Toronto currently serves 250 students and their families in neighbourhoods with some of Toronto’s highest child poverty rates – Parkdale, Jane-Finch, and East Scarborough. Sistema Toronto students develop crucial social skills like empathy, problem solving, and communication while learning music together. Though social development is the primary goal, each student learns an orchestral instrument (violin, viola, cello, or double bass), percussion, choir, and Music & Movement and music theory. Children receive instruction with professional musicians, instruments to learn on, a daily nutritious snack, and a community of support helping them succeed in all areas of life all at no cost to participants’ families.

This funding will allow Sistema Toronto to bring more at-risk children into the program, as there are currently waiting lists at all three centres. The program will also be expanded to include more movement activities in all program areas and resources to enrich students’ learning experience.

Christie Gray, Executive Director of Sistema Toronto:

“Support from the Government of Ontario is monumental for our organization. Sistema Toronto provides vital support to vulnerable children and their families and we’ll be able to better serve our community with this funding. Our team is excited to expand our reach by welcoming more students into our program and look forward to seeing all that we can achieve thanks to this government support.”  

The Hon. Mitzie Hunter, MPP (Scarborough-Guildwood):

“Our government is committed to the education of our children. There are many benefits of musical education it improves memory, motor coordination, confidence, and provides a means of self-expression - I have seen this first hand through Sistema. This one-time investment to Sistema Toronto will allow for the expansion of their program, allowing them to serve even more at-risk children from low income homes.”

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