YALP : Youth Arts Leadership Program

    YALP is the Youth Arts Leadership Program is series of events that is hosted by YAC (Youth Art Connection).

Youth Art Connection (YAC) has partnered with Schools Plus and John Martin Junior High School to create a youth arts & leadership program in the Dartmouth North Community. This project (YALP) is a response to community discussions hosted by the ‘Between the Bridges’ group about the need for more recreational activities for youth in the area. Arts and creative activities were identified as a particular need and effective approach to engaging youth in the area. Dustin Ellsworth of Schools Plus established the partnership with Youth Art Connection to set up this project.

    Senior Programmer and Co-founder of YAC Ryan Veltmeyer, is working with youth leadership groups in the community to:

a) identify artistic areas of interest amongst the youth community

b) support the development of a founding youth arts leadership team

                                c) bring in local artists to facilitate skill building and self-expression workshops in areas of artistic,cultural and social interest to youth in the program

       d) facilitate group discussions about personal and community social issues

                             e) work with professional artists to support youth to create art that gives youth a voice and helps to educate peers and the wider community about pertinent social issues.

    Within the first 5 years, YAC has been working with youth and professional artists facilitating creative leadership programming. Having such talented professionals on board with us, we sought out four issues have emerged as a priority amongst youth:

1. Bullying

2. Sexual Violence

3. Gender Identity

4. Race/Cultural Identity

    With support from the Sexual Violence Prevention Initiative YAC and Schools Plus will build on what we have started, and use the Dartmouth North Youth Arts Leadership Program to support youth to discuss, learn about and take action on the above social issues with an emphasis on Sexual Violence Prevention through art making and public storytelling about the above issues

    This project (YALP) will be lead by the interests, passions and concerns of youth with experienced youth engagement facilitators. We believe this to be innovative rather than having a pre=constructed curriculum delivered to youth. We are allowing youth to lead in tackling social issues by building on their passions and strengths, and by surrounding them with supportive adults, inspiring professional artists that reflect their interests, cultural background and gender identity, and by providing community-based access to the artistic equipment and supplies needed to create powerful art projects to be shared with their peers and community, YAC and Schools Plus will use an innovative approach to create meaningful and lasting change in Dartmouth North.

Youth Arts Leadership Program (YALP) with Ambassador Kayley Dixon

    With over 15 million views and an abundant amount of press, Kayley Dixon, YALP’s new ambassador, has received recognition for her Spoken Word standing up and speaking  against Sexual Violence, and what we can do as society to prevent this. Dixon, only 14 years old and born in Nova Scotia, spoke with wisdom beyond her years about sexual violence and since, her video has gone viral.

    The Title of her poem was labeled as “A Touch of Sexual Assault”. Dixon performed this at the YALP Provincial Funding Announcement in May of this year.

    Since the video went viral, she has made comments about reaching people, and how above and beyond thankful she is that people are reaching back to her to thank her for being brave and speaking words of truth and wisdom to people who do not have the voice to talk about the issue of sexual violence.

LINKS to Kayley Dixon:



Y A L P Kayley


We acknowledge support from the Government of Nova Scotia.

Government of NS

Current & Upcoming Programs

ArtPreneurs YAC supportS talented youth (selected by their peers) to connect with professional artists, local organizations and the business community, and create products or services connected to their creative talents. Youth will have opportunities to practice selling their products to relevant markets and develop a plan for making money using skills related to their passions.

Sing Your Song is a program lead by Jont Troubour, a veteran singer/songwriter who supports youth to write original songs and accompanies them with his expert guitar playing.

Project OpporTUNEity A youthled project helping connect youth-serving organizations to live performances through securing concert tickets and supporting cultural organizations to adapt to the needs of youth and encourage their attendance.

We Day – Spryfield In the fall of 2013, Free the Children hosted the first We Day at the Halifax Metro Centre. Superstars and inspiring speakers motivated youth to take positive local action and international action. The We Day – Spryfield group hosted various fundraisers for local and international charity using their creative talents, including performing original songs and dances with high level peer artists at the Halifax Shopping Centre and fundraising hundreds of dollars for the Kids Help Phone and Free the Children.

St. George’s Youthnet Teen Program helps teens from an existing youth program connect to cultural organizations and artists in their community, and learn skills related to the professional arts.

National Youth Arts Week 2014(May 1st-7th): YAC supports youthled community arts activities throughout Nova Scotia

Past Programs

Art Circles with Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean – In 2011 and 2013 Youth Art Connection hosted a gathering of local youth artists and organizations to connect with the Rt. Hon Michaëlle-Jean. These meetings have led to discussion and action by creative youth for positive social change in their lives and in their community.

Food, Music, Dance is an intergenerational art sharing program. What happens when you bring together youth entrepreneurs from Halifax’s Hope Blooms link – program with the North End Walkers (seniors walking program) and professional musicians, dancers and chefs? Fun, connections and learning! Program made possible with a grant from the 4Cs Foundation.  http://www.4csfoundation.com


National Youth Arts Week 2012-13: YAC supports youthled community arts activities throughout Nova Scotia

Youth on the Radar (YoR) is an after school leadership and arts program based in J.L. Ilsley Highschool in Spryfield, Nova Scotia.

Project Sing provides professional singing instruction to youth who otherwise would not be able to access lessons.

What’s the 411? teaches youth to write and express themselves through rapping and beat-making. Halifax-based hip-hop artist JBru supports youth to write, perform and record original hip-hop songs. He opens doors to young rappers through his deep connections into the Canadian hip-hop scene and years of experience touring with Nova Scotian rapper Classified.

Konyon Ca$h Show Meet young rapper/dancer/producer and story-teller Konyon Ca$h. Sure to entertain and inspire youth to follow their dreams, Konyon is a favourite with junior high and highschool audiences.

Art Builds Futures