Erica Daniels, a mentor at Just TV, composes music for video. (Phil Dubuc)
I'm from Peguis First Nation but I grew up in Winnipeg. Growing up in the city, as a young Aboriginal woman, I have overcome many obstacles in my life. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and I was involved with drugs and crime, and I was at the verge of dropping out of high school. This is the reality that the majority of our youth face everyday in our city.
One of my teachers noticed I was doing bad, and she asked me to attend this United Way event that was held at the Broadway Neighborhood Centre. I agreed to go - I got to miss school for the day!
And that's when I changed my life around. I began attending the Hip Hop Academy Program regularly, making my own songs, and learning to write my own lyrics. Then, I got involved with the Just TV program that also runs out of the Broadway Neighborhood Centre. In Just TV we get to make our own music videos, documentaries, short films...pretty much any idea you want to capture on video. With music and video I was able to express myself. Anytime I was hurt, sad, happy, or angry, I would let my feelings out through my music.
Being a part of the Just TV program for the past four years has given me many opportunities. I graduated from the National Screen Institute - New Voices Program in 2010. I am now working as an intern for the City of Winnipeg doing video and editing.
I have had a lot of opportunities from Just TV, and I am so thankful that I found this program.
I and other participants are living proof that these creative initiatives work! Programs such as these are the key to connecting with our youth. It's a way we can express ourselves in a positive way, and to share and connect with the world.
Erica Daniels, Just TV Mentor
The Just TV program has changed a lot of lives and on Wednesday, December 7, at 7 p.m. you can check out their work at the Just TV Film Festival happening at the West End Cultural Centre. Tickets are free at the door.
In the meantime, here is a taste of what some of the kids have created in this after school program.
This content is provided by Erica Daniels. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for this content.