The Success story: The Verse City project kicked off as a response to the rising violence in the city of Toronto. A decision to attack this violence through media empowerment was made in partnership with the Violence Intervention Project at East Metro Youth Services, and the Verse City Project which had recently found a home at the Ryerson University School of Journalism. The program aimed at getting racialized and marginalized youth interested in pursuing careers in news media as well as opening up pathways to future education. The program specifically targets youth from Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods who face multiple barriers to education, employment and access to community services. Over five years, the program served over 350 marginalized youth who were able to tell stories about their lives, participating in a rapidly changing digital media ecosystem and providing them with valuable experience and opportunities.
The History: The Verse City project kicked off under the Young People’s Press as a way of bringing in racialized youth into the media system, where racialized youth are underrepresented. The initial workshops were a huge success and we partnered with the Toronto Star, the Halifax Chronicle, Sistahs magazine and later several universities across Canada with a grant from Heritage Canada. Our goal is to share the tools and skills necessary to participate in the process of producing journalism.
The program produced the Verse City blog (hosted by Ryerson University), Community Stories published on CBC.ca. a CitizenShift Blog, a project of the National Film Board, the VIP Voice, a newspaper and Say Word, a magazine published by East Metro Youth Services, and a 40 minute documentary about the organizing process.
Please take a look at the summer camp schedule for a breakdown of activities and events.