In 2013, YTGA (Youth Troopers for Global Awareness) received a $1,000 USD grant through CoalitionWILD to make their Studio.89 dream a reality. The idea was to create a part fair trade café and part youth “artademic” resource center. As a social enterprise model, Studio 89 would gain revenue through the fair trade café, which provides funding for the nonprofit programming. The self-sustaining system encourages youth to achieve their vision of a socially just world. The artademic resource center provides leadership, empowerment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth while the fair trade café promotes ethical consumption. Below is an update on how the Studio.89 idea has progressed and become successful.
Tell us how you are creating a wilder world.
Studio.89 is a non-profit community hub and fair trade cafe providing a safe, free space for events, workshops and resources. Studio.89 encourages arts, culture, activism, empowerment, and conscious consumerism with a specific focus on youth leadership, employment, and volunteerism. We aim to benefit humans, animals, and the planet and are empowering our community to act locally, think globally for a sustainable future.
Studio.89 is a social enterprise café and the revenue generating arm of YTGA, Youth Troopers for Global Awareness. YTGA aims to empower and mobilize youth to speak and act on social justice issues using the arts as a platform for advocacy.
What are some of your major milestones and successes?
Studio.89 launched on March 1, 2014. Since then we incorporated fair trade retail shelves within our space, encouraging local artisans to display and sell their stuff. This is great for small business owners, and for entrepreneurs or people just starting in the retail industry. We have a line of handmade baby products, made from all natural and fair trade ingredients, a line of handmade soaps, handmade organic body scrubs, and handmade fair trade clothing and accessory items. We have become a hub for community activity. Entrepreneurs, activists, students, professionals and other organizations alike all use our space to further their initiatives. In the past seven months, we have been host to over 140 events, all community centric and focused on betterment of our city. That’s an average of 22 events per month!
1. We are currently working with the city to identify a new space for our organization that is more accessible for youth and the community to access our programming. Currently we are not very accessible for city transit.
2. Our YTGA theatre troop, which uses the arts as a platform for social justice advocacy, has officially started up again after three years! The troop consists of 5 members and we are thrilled to begin structuring our first few theatrical pieces and start performing.
3. We are now doing regular social justice focused workshops with 2 schools in the Peel Region on a regular basis. These workshops integrate sustainable development into current curriculums in classes such as Art, English, and Social Science classes.
4. We are currently in the midst of developing our YTGA Summer Program which offers a subsidized day camp option for low income families with children between ages 10 and 16. The programming focuses on sustainable development with a theme of “humans, animals and the planet.”
How can the public support you or get involved with your work?
Marketing – we are constantly looking at new strategies for increasing our engagement and following on social media.
Volunteers – our volunteer coordinator is always on the lookout for new outreach opportunities to take in more volunteers, but we find our volunteers all end up just volunteering in the kitchen when we really need volunteers who can help with facilitating programming, and help with marketing, community outreach and research.
How can others help you accomplish these goals?
There are a number of ways that others can assist us in achieving our goals including:
– Liking the Studio 89 Facebook page
– Following Studio.89 on Twitter
– Helping us gain more funding to apply our model and work toward sustainability
– Help us organize campaigns, and connect us with organizations whom we can help organize their campaigns
– Connect us to individuals who share our vision of a friendlier way of doing business that is good for humans, animals, and the planet
– Promote Studio 89, and encourage people to visit us, helping us generate sales to sustain our model
– Be agents of change, and promote concepts of fair trade – be the demand that changes the supply
Any words of advice or wisdom? Anything else you want to tell the world?
While it’s been a tough journey, an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming. Keep pushing forward.
Studio 89 is part fair trade café and part youth “artademic” resource center.
The artademic resource center provides leadership, empowerment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth while the fair trade café promotes ethical consumption.