Established five years ago with Youth Challenge Fund financing, the Nia Centre for the Arts offers young people a space to grow and develop through culturally-relevant arts experiences.
The organization provides programming and services to engage youths artistically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually to support the development of healthy identities and positive life choices and showcases and promotes arts from an African Diasporic perspective to engage inter-generational artists and the public.
Two of its staff members – Towa Beer and Letecia Rose – have being given an amazing platform to enhance their leadership skills through the DiverseCity Fellows program.
They are among 26 new cohorts unveiled last week.
Over the next year, the Fellows will be paired with mentors, meet with emerging and established leaders, assess their own leadership skills and work in multi-sectoral teams to address city-building challenges.
Beer is confident that the leadership and networking experience will help her serve the Nia Centre more efficiently and effectively.
As the Nia Centre programs & partnership manager, Rose is responsible for creating, leading and overseeing all of the organization’s programming and evaluation.
“Being chosen to be a Fellow among the diverse talents and successful Fellows that have come before me is a humbling feeling,” she said. “As a woman of colour and a mother of two, opportunities like this are very limited. There are not many programs out there that give up-and-coming city-builders the chance to professionally develop and expand networks and obtain mentorship. Civic Action is opening its doors and resources to us and providing us with the tools to grow. All the learnings that I take from this experience will be put directly into the programs that I do at Nia Centre for the Arts.”
Last June, Rose was the recipient of a Vital People grant that will allow her to participate in three professional development opportunities, including leadership and facilitation workshops and a fellowship at New York’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts.
Nia Centre co-founder and executive director, Dr. Mark Campbell, said Beer and Rose’s selection as DiverseCity Fellows is a testament to the organization’s diversity and skill level.
“We need that kind of talent to help establish our centre as the only one of its kind in Canada,” he said.
The year’s DiverseCity Fellows include City of Toronto community planner, Sipo Maphangoh; Royal Bank of Canada business project manager, Christopher Matthews, who is the president and chair of the Ontario Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and television executive, Jeremy Roach, who co-chairs the St. Andrew’s Out of the Cold program.