welcome to youthLEADarts

Listen. Empathize. Act. Drive.

youthLEADarts is a network of Canadian young people who work together, through the arts, to encourage and support one another as they emerge as the LEADers of tomorrow. These diverse individuals are brought together and mentored by Artist- Educators who facilitate the participant’s journey of self-realization and learning.

The focus of youthLEADarts is under-resourced young people. This could mean someone who lives in a community that is inner-city, rural, or remote. It also includes those who feel outside ‘the dominant social norms’ (for example: culture, language, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, able-ness, gender and sexuality).

LEAD is a method to create change on 2 levels- within the individual participant and in their community. This set of values empowers young people, giving them the skills to become LEADers and effect meaningful and positive impact in their lives and their futures.

Please consider becoming part of our growing initiative … keep reading to learn how!

what does LEAD stand for?

Listen. Empathize. Act. Drive.





Listening is as important as speaking when communicating. 

What do you think is important when you listen?


Empathize means imaging how someone else feels.

How does it make you feel when someone does that for you?

Actions speak louder than words. 

What is it that you want say? 

Drive yourself and your idea to completion.

What gives you the power to keep going?

Britannia Blog 2021! Vancouver Jan 25- Feb 5

The youthLEADarts team blogged everyday from Britannia Community School in Vancouver. Follow this journey as the LEAD team created an arts-based program learning about RACISM and equipping this class of grade 6 and 7 students with tools to help combat it.

Britannia 2021

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

*Note to Our Followers*We are waiting with bated breath for the Final Videos of the Students to be released publically. …

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Britannia 2021

Day 10- Mimaju’aq: Coming Alive

(Today’s Blog is written by word-smith Lori Sherritt-Fleming) Shelley MacDonald opened one of this week’s youthLEADarts sessions with words of …

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Britannia 2021

Day 9- The Penultimate “Official” Day

(Today’s Blog- is written by Tina Bye, youthLEADarts Mentoring Team Member) ~~~Mr. B- How We Love Thee…~~~ Mr. Justin Borsato …

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Britannia 2021

Day 8- The Kids and Their Poetry Take Centre Stage

(Today’s Blog is written by Roy Mulder, one of the youthLEADarts mentors.) An opening comment was offered by Elder Amanda. …

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About Us

 “Given the opportunity, the arts can absolutely empower children, changing their lives for the better,” -educator and musician Marilyn Field. 

The youthLEADarts Story

Founder and Mentor of LEAD, Marilyn Field MSM, Creates Opportunities for Canadian Youth

LEAD is an acronym that brings the  Listen, Empathize, Act and Drive together as a pathway for all leaders. The brain-child of visionary Marilyn Field MSM, this educational framework helps participants plan, implement and reflect upon their own voice and build their own inner leader to impact their communities.

A classically trained pianist, Marilyn was from a young age “that quiet one” who learned to accept challenges like losing her mother when she was two and who the other children looked to for learning and leadership.  And LEAD she has!

In 1994 she created a ground-breaking program for students at-risk. It is called DAREARTS. Since its inception DAREARTS has engaged over 220,000 young people across Canada  a lifelong motivation for creative thinking and excellence in their lives and communities. 

Her international recognition as a leader in the field of arts education includes being invited to conduct the Nobel Peace Prize’s 100th anniversary choir, which was composed of children representing 23 countries.  Her lifetime reward has been hearing children proclaim, “… I am a Leader!”.

In addition, Marilyn has served on the boards of Opera Atelier, Toronto Senior Strings, The Ontario Speech Foundation, Theatre Orangeville and the Esprit Orchestra (Chair). She worked in conjuntion with the Stratford Festival, Headwaters Arts Festival and Headwaters Health Centre, and she has helped seed numerous other arts organizations. In 2013, she gave the University of Toronto’s Convocation Address.

Marilyn Conducting the International Choir in Oslo, Sweden
Marilyn accepting her Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General Adrianne Clarkson

Marilyn Field was awarded the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General in 2003 and both the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals. In 2013, she was the inductee of the Caledon Walk of Fame, with a stone along the Trans Canada Trail.

In continuation of her journey of leadership, Marilyn is proud to mentor a national circle of youths and arts educators who have created the #youthLEADarts project to lead us all into a brave new world of discovery.

youthLEADarts Roots and Growth

Find out more about the roots of youthLEADarts and pictures from some of our past projects and participants.

A Word from of our Youth Ambassador/ Graduates

Elijah, 23, is a recent graduate of Trent University in Math and Spanish (a passion he developed whilst there). He first joined Marilyn Field’s empowering arts education program as a 12-year-old who was living in a marginalized Toronto suburb.  On program days, Marilyn would call him early in the morning to make sure he got on the bus for the daylong workshops in downtown Toronto. Through the arts education program, he was able to realize what was possible regardless of the odds and pursue that which he wanted without fear. 

Today, we are so proud of him for finding his inner leader to stay in school and succeed, as well as find his passion for writing poetry, swimming, and mentoring other young people. As you watch him speak, you can feel his passion to reach out to others.

youthLEADarts workshops

Though Covid has limited our social activities, but you can still make new friends from ALL OVER CANADA with interests similar to yours with youthLEADart’s online Workshops.

The Mentoring Team

IMG_3021 (2)

Marilyn Field

Founder/ National Coordinator

Visionary, Mentor, Teacher, Musician


Lori Sherritt-Fleming

West Coast Mentor

Author, Playwright, Performer

Shelley MacDonald

East Coast Mentor

Performer, Educator, Film-maker

Deirdre Potash

Central Canada Mentor

Artist Educator, Entrepreneur


Tina Tucker Bye

Central Canada Mentor

 Artist-Educator, Visual Artist, Actor/ Director


Roy Mulder

East Coast Mentor

Photographer, Videographer

Find out More about Artist Educators and Collaboration Partners

Become a LEADer- Invest in our Future

Are you in a position that you can give back? Was there, in your past, was an initiative, person or a program that gave you that edge of support? Do you believe in the transformative power of the arts? 

If your answer is YES to any of these questions, please consider becoming a LEADer and giving your support to help create our programming for unserved youth across Canada.

Our Tribute to Canadian Theatre Pioneer: Christopher Plummer

We join the world in mourning the passing of Christopher Plummer, 91.   Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, Antoni Cimolino, has said, “Christopher Plummer was our North Star.  His talent, wit, and verve set the highest standards for performance.” 

‘North Star’, a natural LEADer, describes Christopher Plummer perfectly: not only on stage but off stage too.   

In special opportunities arranged by the Stratford Festival,  teen students of our founder, Marilyn Field, met in private conversations with Mr. Plummer and learned how his artistic talents helped him combat shyness and how building inner strength is critical to help you get through life’s rejections and obstacles.  The youths will always remember Sir Plummer’s inspiration as they follow his star along their own paths.   “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” (The Tempest by Shakespeare)

Our Social Feeds


See yourself and your friends featured on our website by using our hashtag #youthLEADarts in your arts and leadership posts.

Make sure it is OK with your adults first, and check its alright with the people in your pictures and videos too. And please make sure the content is “family friendly”. 😉

We leave the last word to our students from Quebec....

Ask Your Questions...

Contact us to find out more.

We are looking forward to answering your questions.

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