Bringing the sext program into schools
We feel strongly that our youth-empowerment, arts-based approach to learning sex ed is where it's at. Click here to be redirected to our page on bringing the program straight into schools across the province!
non-profit and community partnerships
Community organizations can provide valuable support and enrichment for student learning, including expertise, skills, materials, and programs that are not available through the school or that supplement those that are. Partnerships with such organizations benefit not only the students but also the life of the community.
Included in our site are a list of our sister organizations, programs who are working on the local, provincial, or national scale in youth outreach, youth mental health, sexual education initiatives, and a wide variety of other worthwhile causes. Providing this database allows youth to use our website as a stepping-off point for future volunteerism, or to seek help, advice, or services in a particular area. In addition it connects people and resources of these institutions in a web of support to aid each other with outreach.
We also maintain close relationships with our partner organizations: The Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, the CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention, and the Flemingdon Health Centre ( which is based directly in the community where our project has it's roots). We have also received funding from the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council for our initiatives working with youth to bring arts-based education and performance into a high priority area of Toronto. One such place is the highschool Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute where the first incarnation of our workshop and performance took place. Some of our incredibly dedicated youth participants are still with us as peer educators today, 3 years later, and continuing to perform and educate through SExT. We have received a highly prestigious grant from the Michaëlle Jean Foundation for our amazing youth-empowerment model of outreach and education. Most recently we have partnered with Ophea to share this model with educators across the province.
Another area in which we seek to network within the community is our guest artist series. We enjoy bringing in highly qualified professionals to rehearsals, so that youth participants can benefit from their expertise and get a wider vision of Toronto's artistic community, while artists grow through their interaction with the teens and form relationships within the community. Some past guest artists include: Comedian and director Matty Burns for improvisation and stand up comedy, comedian Josh Murray for improvisation and acting, Debora Joy for voice work, Ming-Bo Lam for dance training, Singer/Songwriter Elena Juatco for singing and guitar, and Tom McGee for media training.
In the SExT program, there is a balance between direct instruction in content and skills, and opportunities for participatory experiential learning. Here, students can use their knowledge and skills in structured as well as unstructured activities, encouraging creativity, self-expression, and development of personal and interpersonal skills. This initiative focuses on the areas of skill-building, awareness, knowledge acquisition, personal growth, social inclusion.
Facilitation is designed to instil positive habits of mind, such as curiosity and open-mindedness. We want students to develope their willingness to think, question, challenge, and be challenged, and an awareness of the value of listening or reading closely and communicating clearly. Opportunities will be provided for imaginative and critical thinking about issues of fairness, equity, and social justice.
The focus is not merely on health knowledge but rather on higher-level thinking connected to the application of skills for healthy living. During SExT, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to make sound decisions about matters affecting their health and well-being, as well as the comprehension, capacity, and commitment needed before they experience real-life situations in which decisions have to be made. Students will be guided in developing a positive sense of self and identity, self-awareness, and personal coping and management skills.
Students will develop critical thinking and inquiry skills for complex and multifaceted issues, which include questioning, predicting, analysing, synthesizing, examining opinions, identifying values and issues, detecting bias, and distinguishing between alternatives to make a judgement, and/or guide decision making. In short, this program is highly relevant to students’ present and future lives in a complex, global, technology-rich, and rapidly changing world.
We believe in bringing our performances straight into communities, to the hubs of connection where people from all walks of life are invited to, and are able to, attend. It all begins in schools, the cultural centre for many neighbourhoods of Toronto, and expands to various locations and institutions with deep ties to their surrounding neighbourhood. In this way, a holistic system of support and education can grow through outreach to the areas where this information most needs to be heard. This year, we participated in the Festival of Original Theatre (FOOT) at the University of Toronto, where academics from across the country came to be impressed by our incredible youth performers, speaking with passion about issues affecting them right now. Here we engaged with the discussion of how theatre can aid in education and vice versa, and how our program encourages youth to tell their stories, and engage with material in a personal way. A performance was held at the Ontario Science Centre, located directly in the neighbourhood where SExT's initial programming was implemented so that the it was accessible to the immediate community. In addition, we performed at the Palmerston Library and the Flemingdon Health Center, each venue in a different area with a demographically different community to reach.
We all know it: it's the digital age. This means that having a well curated online presence is key to disseminating information, engaging with members of the public, recruiting and galvanizing youth participants for our SExT program, publicizing our various shows and events, and providing a platform for development. You've clearly found our website, the hub for what's going on and all about us.
Linked to this site is our amazing blog, run by our creative facilitator Elena Juatco. Here is where we share our insights and stories about sex, healthy relationships, and the journey of getting our show from the rehearsal hall to opening night. Contributors include SExT collaborators and cast members.
In addition we also maintain an active Facebook, instagram and twitter presence. We know that the youth of today like to engage online...and so do we! Check out our platforms for daily doses of news, pics, and information on our upcoming shows.
bringing the project into the public sphere
Besides our work in schools, we feel that it is important for our cast to share what they have created with the larger GTA community! In this way, youth are empowered to educate and enlighten with their own voices, and in their own words. Being a part of a large scale professional theatre production lends life experience, a sense of professionalism, and directness of purpose. It also entrusts participants with passing on learning in this vitally important area to their peers, communities, and a larger world of which they are a part. In addition, the audience can take away modern, comprehensive, sex education information delivered in a fun, fast-moving, and at times poignant, way.
This summer, we are proud to showcase the talent of these incredible youth performers at the Toronto Fringe Festival (June 29th-July 10th 2016), and at Summerworks ( August 7th-12 2016).
our mentorship program
Besides acting and participating in our education program, a small group of youth apply each year to be mentored in areas of particular interest to them. This additional area of development expands their learning into a dimension of practical professional application. Successful applicants take on roles such as Assistant Producer, Social Media Coordinator, Assistant Stage Manager, and Media Consultancy. During the year, they are given guidance and opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally as they shadow their mentor and learn a new skill set. Through this responsibility students are empowered to see themselves as capable, active contributors to their own project.
Accessibility and inclusivity
We here at SExT are dedicated to education which respects and embraces the incredible diversity present in our Ontario schools. We commit to providing caring, inclusive, safe, and accepting environments that support the achievement and well-being of every student. We have sought to create a program which is appropriate for, and inclusive of, all physical and behavioural exceptionalities. During our in-school workshops, learning will be developmentally appropriate and respect students’ diverse backgrounds to ensure personal relevance and sensitivity. Ground rules are set to establish and maintain a physically and emotionally safe learning environment that is healthy, caring, respectful, accepting, and inclusive, and in which students of all backgrounds, abilities, and experiences feel comfortable and welcome.
The scripts which participants perform are 100% student sourced in order to reflect real lived experience, the particular developmental stage of students, and the community in
which the project is implemented. However, sex education is a contentious issue, even in 2016. It is understood that some topics need to be approached with additional sensitivity, care, and awareness because of their personal nature and their connection to family values, religious beliefs, or other social or cultural norms. Teaching is constructivist, with teacher in the role of co-learner and facilitator
Opportunities will be provided for imaginative and critical thinking about issues of fairness, equity, and social justice.
For a more in-depth and comprehensive look at the ideologies and practices which guide us here at SExT, read Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools: Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation, a text created by the Government of Ontario.