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About Sickkids
About SickKids

March 29, 2010

SickKids exhibit gives voice to youth from Toronto’s at-risk neighbourhoods

My Dream project highlights students’ needs and aspirations


A piece of art on display in Collection X


My dream is for everyone to have healthy food to eat. – Dang, Grade 1
My dream is to have a safe place to play. – Alan, Grade 1
My dream is for everyone to be able to see the doctor. – Michelle, Grade 1

We all have dreams, no matter how big or small; yet those dreams, which may be attainable for some, are still out of reach for many children and youth right here in Toronto.

Young artists and poets from five Toronto District School Board schools in the Jane and Finch area are highlighting their dreams in a new art and poetry collection, compiled by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) through a partnership with Westview Alumni Advocates for Youth (WAAY), in association with York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Paediatricians at SickKids are active in Toronto’s at-risk neighbourhoods, addressing unmet health needs with the schools and working to improve access to care for children and families. My Dream was developed as a way to celebrate the talent in these communities, explains Dr. Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones, Paediatrician specializing in social paediatrics at SickKids and Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.

“We wanted to hear the views of children and youth who aren’t usually heard,” she says. “This project draws attention to what their aspirations are and illustrates some very basic needs that remain unmet for many children in our city. It is overwhelming to see how outward-looking and generous they are.”

The My Dream collection was created in conjunction with Achieving Health Equity for Kids: Whatever it Takes, a conference coordinated and hosted by SickKids. The event aims to address the social determinants of health, which are defined as the conditions in which people live and work that impact their health and well-being. The conference will also focus on advancing work to ensure the success of children by supporting healthy and positive outcomes for children, families and society.

The event, which takes place March 30 and 31, was organized with the collaboration of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Pro Bono Law Ontario. It is geared toward health-care professionals and community workers.

According to conference organizer Ford-Jones, participants will be given the tools to play an active role in social paediatrics, which is defined as the care of the disadvantaged and socially excluded child, youth, and family.

“The question isn’t who’s going to fix this, but rather, how do each of us play our position?” she says, stressing that the development of all children and youth, including those not featured in the My Dream project, should be nurtured.

My Dream affirms that every last child and youth are part of our talent pool,” says Ford-Jones. “This initiative could have been repeated in any number of neighbourhoods in Toronto, with similar results.”

Students in grades 2 through 12 from the North West 2 Family of Schools of the TDSB (Brookview Middle School, Yorkwoods Public School, Gosford Public School, CW Jefferys Collegiate Institute and Emery Collegiate Institute) contributed artwork and poetry to the project.


About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized child and family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. Follow us on Twitter (@SickKidsNews) and Instagram (@SickKidsToronto).

For more information, please contact:
Matet Nebres
The Hospital for Sick Children