OrKidstra is a social development program, which gives kids from under-served areas of Ottawa the opportunity to learn life skills – such as teamwork, commitment and responsibility – through the joys and challenges of singing and playing music together. With the passionate belief in the transformative power of music, OrKidstra began in 2007 with 27 kids and has since grown to include over 600, ages 5-18, from 42 cultural and linguistic backgrounds; 96% of students participate free of charge.
The Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation (ODBF) supports OrKidstra’s “Centre of Excellence” program, which focuses on creating a safe, creative, and beneficial space (complete with healthy snacks) for disadvantaged youth, ages 12-18, in the critical after-school hours. Through OrKidstra’s Kid-Powered levels, youth make the commitment to attend OrKidstra’s Centretown Hub (Bronson Centre) 3 or 4 times a week after school. This free program provides kids with the opportunity to grow through access to music lessons (instrumental & choral from professional Teaching Artists), workshops, community volunteering and performance opportunities and activities, which reduces youth alienation along with building teamwork, leadership, citizenship and mentoring skills. OrKidstra’s “Centre of Excellence” participants are self-selected which empower youth to make choices which will benefit their lives. This program helps to create successful, responsible citizens who contribute to the sustainable development of a strong community.