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?

Please allow youthLEADarts’ students, Annie and Olivia to give you a master class in the LEAD values. This comes from a presentation they did on March 13, 2021, for the end of the Winter term of BL Education’s Youth Leadership class which the LEAD mentors facilitated. (Annie and Olivia are both in Grade 5)

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

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

LEAD is an acronym that brings theListen, 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 and acclaimed teacher, 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 and charity for students at-risk which she called DAREARTS. For 25 years under her leadership, the charity engaged over 220,000 young people across Canada in a lifelong motivation for creative thinking and excellence in their lives and communities.

Marilyn is known worldwide as both an education visionary and an exceptional peace-maker who brings people together to work in harmony: from schoolyard bullies to international organizations. Her international recognition includes being invited to the Nobel Peace Prize’s 100th-anniversary concert, where she conducted a choir of children from 23 countries, onstage with Paul McCartney..  Her lifetime reward has been hearing children proclaim, “… I am a Leader!”.

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

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)  and with the Stratford Festival, Headwaters Arts Festival and Headwaters Health Centre. She also helped seed numerous other arts organizations. In 2013, she gave the University of Toronto’s Convocation Address. 

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, artists and 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

Marilyn MSM -cropped (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.   Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, Antoni Cimolino, said, “Christopher Plummer was our North Star.”  Arranged with the Stratford Festival, our founder, Marilyn Field, and youths met twice with Mr. Plummer and learned how his artistic talents helped him combat shyness and how building inner strength is critical to get through life’s rejections and obstacles.  We are such stuff as dreams are made on”- William 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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