A few weeks ago I braved (read white knuckled) the 401 to check out Studio 15, a Christian arts community for youth in the Kingsview Village and The Westway neighborhoods of Toronto. A source had informed me that the cooking class this particular evening would be a lesson in all things BBQ. How could I say no? Yep, there are stories to tell and I must tell them even if it means eating mouth-watering, delicious BBQ. I’m just that dedicated.
Kingsview FMC’s Studio 15 began as a day camp but with the help of its sponsors, Kingsview FMC, World Vision’s “Partners to End Child Poverty” program and private donors, it continues to offer March break and summer camps but also ten-week workshops throughout the year.
Darrin Lindsay (Associate Pastor Kingsview FMC and Head BBQer) and Jessica Dotson (Fine Arts student) run the Studio 15 show with an entourage of volunteers. Workshops include culinary arts, dance, music and visual arts. The cost per workshop is $25 with subsidies available.
I live in the land of five and seven year-olds so it was a refreshing change to hang out with the middle school crowd. The kids were totally engaged while scrubbing potatoes, chopping onions, setting the table and barbequing ribs and jerk chicken. Darrin taught knife/chopping skills, how to season meat and the basics of barbequing.
As we sat eating our BBQ feast I asked the group which part of the evening they most enjoyed. It was unanimous: sharing a meal together. I was surprised and asked them why. Turns out many of them eat on their own at home most of the time either by choice or circumstance. Getting together and breaking bread pretty straightforward stuff really.
Darrin’s motivation, “Personally I’m very passionate about finding creative ways to engage kids/youth in our community so that they can get to know Jesus. People often overlook kids/youth, especially those in the middle school age group — they have a lot to offer, and I want to do whatever I can to create an environment where they can have positive interactions and build healthy relationships with adults, especially Christian who will love them, advocate for them and just have some fun together with them.”
It was evident the kids enjoy hanging out with Darrin each week. I’m trying not to gush about my brother-in-law but it was a beautiful thing to witness the connection and trust that has developed between Darrin and the Studio 15 gang.
I shot some video footage during my visit: http://youtu.be/xKs5fGxmBoc
For more info check out the Studio 15 Website: http://studio15arts.com/