Three smiling people hold small posters while standing beneath a sign that reads Faculty of Liberals Arts & Sciences.

High school students from under-resourced communities in the GTA will be coming to Humber College for a two-day creative writing retreat called YouthINK.

Eufemia Fantetti, Leanne Milech and Sarah Feldbloom are faculty members with the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ English department and the organizers of the event happening March 12 and March 13. They have partnered with VIBE Arts, a charity dedicated to providing arts education and artistic mentorship to the next generation of creatives.  

VIBE Arts’ artist-facilitators will lead participants through creative writing, collaging, and zine-making workshops. Zines are handmade, independently published collections of writing and images.

“The driving force behind this was wanting to give youth an opportunity to see the potential for a career and education in the arts,” said Fantetti.

The students will tour the campus, interact with current students and faculty and learn about a world full of expanded potential at Humber by visualizing possibilities for their own future post-secondary education.

Fantetti remembers attending a drama camp at Humber while still in high school and how it was her first time visiting a post-secondary institution. It introduced her to a world she hadn’t experienced before. Afterwards, she realized college was a possibility.

“I was able to imagine myself in that environment,” said Fantetti. “We want the high school students to see it’s a fun and welcoming space for them.”

A flyer advertising the YouthINK creative writing retreat.

Current Humber students and faculty from a variety of programs, including Journalism and Bachelor of Creative and Professional Writing, will participate in a panel discussion about why they chose Humber. Students in the latter program will also serve as program assistants where they will gain valuable experience and put skills learned in the classroom into action when interacting with their high school peers.

The goal is to have the zines added to the Humber Library collection and the experience will give the young students a sense of accomplishment by having their name in a published work.

“I still remember getting my first publication in undergrad,” said Milech. “It was a CD review in The Queen’s Journal (student newspaper). It was a small article, but it was so important to me.”

There will be a zine launch party to celebrate the group’s collective output and friends and family will be invited to attend. It will also feature readings by the youth.

Participants will receive a small stipend for publishing their work in the zine, in addition to copies of the zine itself.

YouthINK is being funded by the Humber Community Partnership Fund.