Over the past year, the CCYP has grown tenfold. From new partnerships and programs to our Youth Council and Fellowships. Get ready for the next level of our 21 Questions for 2021 series! Throughout February, we will be introducing you to our fellows who have graciously found time to put aside their research to share a bit about themselves and their work with you. Tune in weekly, you just might learn something new.
What's your name?
My name is Henrick “Shoolie” Sales
What are three words that you would use to describe yourself?
Creative - I love coming up with creative ideas. It stems from my background in being a Spoken word artist and someone who studies creative advertising.
Determined - When I set my mind to something I dedicate myself to achieving it. I am the type of person that enjoys working towards seeing results.
Comical - When I feel secure in a team I bring a fun energy that brings a unique energy to a team dynamic.
What is your most played song right now?
Location Unknown by Honne
What is your educational background?
I went to Seneca for Creative Advertising.
Can you speak about your advocacy work/project?
I want to be a better advocate for youth workforce development and youth in the work place. I aim to provide youth with the opportunity to not only explore the arts but gain valuable experiences that transfer over to their professional career. My current advocacy project explores the unconventional ways in which one may gain relevant experience that helps them get into the workforce. I want to specifically look into the arts and non-profit work.
What sparked your passion for it?
One of the issues that I’ve come across in doing arts programming is that youth are really interested in gaining work experience very early on and there is a struggle in where they could get the proper job experiences or opportunities.
Why do you think this is important in the Canadian context?
This is important because as Canadians transition over to more STEM based jobs and the big shift to a more online work environment due to COVID-19 there is going to be a greater need for empathy development and human skills which can be gained through the arts and non-profit work.
What does opportunity look like within your advocacy work?
The opportunity in my advocacy work is looking into the benefits of pursuing and doing work in the arts or non-profit work and turning those experiences into relevant skills that can make the youth of today better and stronger candidates for the workplace of the future.
How can other Canadian youth get involved?
Other Canadian youth can get involved by educating themselves and learning how doing these types of work can benefit their future and that there are other ways of gaining valuable experience apart from the traditional method of schooling.
About the CCYP Fellowship Program:
What made you want to get involved in the CCYP Fellowship Program?
I found the opportunity through an email and was interested in the possibility of giving youth the chance to be involved in the arts but also providing them with an opportunity to build their portfolio to gain employment by being involved in the programming that I do within the community of Agincourt.
What do you hope to bring to the CCYP Fellowship Program?
I’m hoping to bring my experience as a program coordinator in Scarborough. My work focuses on creating creative programming that enables youth to explore and use storytelling to share their experiences and stories.
What professional relationships are you hoping to establish?
I am hoping to better build my network and further develop the programming that I do in the hopes that it also gives youth the opportunity to expand their work portfolio. I would like to build relationships with people who are connected with funders who are interested in the arts and non-profit. I also believe that it would be beneficial to learn from entrepreneurs and self-starters in the industry.
What do you hope to accomplish during your fellowship? What does impact mean to you?
I am hoping to combine my research here, at CCYP, and experience within the arts industry to give youth better job opportunities and resources for their future. Impact means giving youth a more tangible way to gain employment through their work and involvement within non-profit and arts organizations.
Can you share with us an organization or program that you think others in youth workforce development/employment should be made aware of?
SLYE youth network believes in a world where all young people are socially and economically included in matters that affect their lives. They are a program in Scarborough that helps youth organizations in the area be better involved in the lives of young people and other organizations that have the same goals.
Which of your previous work/volunteer experiences had the most impact on your current advocacy work?
My work with Stay Golden - which is a grassroots initiative empowering youth to share their stories through the arts by means of educational workshops, public speaking and storytelling. Stay Golden is a youth-led initiative that uses the art of spoken word poetry to connect members of the communities it serves.
How has that impacted the person you are today?
Stay Golden has given me the opportunity to work with youth directly and understand their needs and worries for their future. Through storytelling they are able to express these needs in a safe environment. These stories provide an honest look into their lives.
Recognizing the importance of building a community network, how has mentorship supported you throughout your professional development thus far?
Mentorship has helped me in multiple ways 1) skill-building which has helped me in the work that I do and be more effective in the creation of programs, workshops and in securing funding. It has also helped me in 2) career development and how I could use my diverse experiences and skills in finding the opportunities that match my current skill set and how I can work towards being able to do what I love on a full-time basis.
Who is an individual/figure that you look up to?
Michael “Piecez” Prosserman is someone who I look up to very much. He is the founder of UNITY charity. I look up to him because he took his passion and turned it into a community that changes the lives of young people. I am one of the youth that has had a significant impact on their life and it has helped me navigate what I wanted to do as an individual for my own community.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be afraid of failure. I’ve learned to use failure as an opportunity for growth and that the lessons that I learn from failing are just as valuable as the successes.
Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
I stream and play video games over at twitch.tv. I have built a modest community that enjoys hanging out and talking about life and chatting about different topics.
I skateboard in the summer and parkour when the wheels stop moving.
I am the 2011 Grand slam champion for BAM! The Toronto youth poetry slam.
Can you share a goal you have for 2021?
I want to secure funding for a program called “Lost in Translation”. The program aims to explore the racism and challenges that immigrant parents face and how that tension creates a barrier menacing their relationship with their children. This project was inspired by the experiences we’ve had with parents who have actively engaged and supported the youth in Stay Golden’s programs. We saw that immigrant parents were better able to empathize with their children's struggles on a day-to-day basis. One parent described it as “hearing” what their child is saying for the first time. The project we are proposing intends to flip that insight and help youth understand the struggles that immigrant parents have faced in star