With Hip Hop CandyFest just around the corner, the folks at Candy Funhouse wanted some deeper insight into the lives of the youth at Argus Residence, as they are the main reason for this event.
With this in mind, we formulated and asked them some question about their lives, what drives them, and the lessons they've learned -- the responses we got were eye-opening and inspiring.
They were first asked:
Describe your life in a few sentences.
The answers we received were sobering when we realized the intensity and hardships that many, if not all, of these youths have experienced at such a young age. What was most surprising is that many of their responses, although seemingly negative, were followed up by positive realizations as a result of their difficulties.
"My life has been full of poor experiences until now. I am wanting to be able to build a happier life after Argus and it is already beginning."
"Life can be very painful and seem hell-ish, but there is always a positive side."
"Trust is earned."
"My life experience was very hard growing up. I didn't have my biological parents but I was grateful to have wonderful foster parents."
Notice the maturity in their perspective. Even though their lives have been harder than the average person's, it seems as though suffering has really made them grow up fast. Their wisdom pours through even more with the next question, which asked the participants:
If you wanted people to know one thing about you what would it be?
"Don't judge a book by its cover."
"I would like people to know that I would love to help them out."
"I love all life forms even though I am afraid of some."
"Don't underestimate my abilities. I can do many things if I was just given the chance."
There are many youths at Argus that not only have incredible talent, but a story that fuels their creativity to make unique art. The purpose behind Hip Hop CandyFest was to offer young people an outlet to display, encourage, support and share this gift with others in the hopes of inspiring them while still bringing awareness to issues that are going on in our very own backyards like teenage homelessness.
Music has played an integral role in almost everyone's life, and often you hear of people's lives changing because of it. The next question asked our participants if and how music has affected their lives.
"Yes! It has made me laugh, cry and compare my life to the music. I always have music with me. If I didn't, I think I would be lost."
"Gets me through all of my tough times"
"I grew up around music. I can't really go a day without it. One day I would like to go for Executive Producing in Toronto."
"Music has been really positive in my life. It makes me feel better in moments of anger."
It seems that music in itself is a unique form of therapy that other modern medical practices just don't offer - this isn't the kind of thing you can just prescribe a pill for. There's nothing like hearing the right song at the right time to remind you that it's all going to be ok. Music is a reflection of self, a portal for emotional release and connection to others, and its clear in the answer of these wonderful youths that there is a healing power in music that we are just beginning to understand.
Music can be a very powerful tool and Hip Hop CandyFest hopes to be an example of this. By taking a genre of music like Hip Hop that the youth can connect to easily, although sometimes seen as a rebellious style of music, when used for the sake of making a positive change in people's lives, demonstrates the transmuting power of using something seemingly "bad" for good.