By Isorine Marc - Jamii’s Founder, Executive & Artistic Director:

Reflecting on 2019 is inspiring: it has been a beautiful year for Jamii; one of growth, enriching partnerships, exciting projects in our community, and throughout the Province. A year during which one of our dreams came true: the creation of a mobile theatre for our community, the Kisanii Hub. Last but not least, in 2019, Jamii refined its goal of both building community through multiple artistic initiatives, and nurturing young women in leadership.

 

In 2019, we continued collaborating with our key community partners: the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, the Toronto Public Library (St Lawrence Branch), the St Lawrence Market BIA, and our local schools: Market Lane P.S., Downtown Alternative School, and St Michael’s Catholic School. We also developed partnerships with artistic institutions local to The Esplanade: Soulpepper Theatre Company; Canadian Stage; Meridian Hall; Young People’s Theatre; Théâtre Français de Toronto; and Canadian Opera Company. We met regularly throughout the year and organized together, in Crombie Park, projects such as “Discover Dance”, a community choir and Indigenous Day celebration. These partnerships will continue flourishing in 2020 with the common goal of igniting more artistic experiences for all Esplanadians.


Jamii increased the number of projects and events in Crombie Park, especially through programming with the Kisanii Hub; and by creating an outdoor stage for our community. With “The Stories The Wind Carries”, we shared our expertise of community engagement through the arts with other communities - Wolfe Island, Wawa, Michipicoten First Nation and Pikangikum First Nation – sharing our multiple stories through the process. It is yet another project that will continue expanding in 2020. Taking Jamii beyond the borders of the Esplanade, as far as 1000kms away, is a big deal and we are extremely proud.

Jamii’s commitment to young women in our community is not new. However, in 2019, we took it a step further by asking 20 young women
how Jamii had impacted their lives and the community. We acted on their feedback to develop a Women in Leadership initiative named LAINI, which will be launched in 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated women who have made a huge impact to Jamii in 2019, including Mio Miyake Muyoboke and Yusra Yacout (Summer Project Coordinators), Angel Narick and Zarita Adhiambo (Community Outreach and Project Coordinators), Kerryn Graham (Ambassador to Wolfe Island), Sharon McMillan our new co-President (along with Jim Adams), and a special dedication to Georgia Reynolds our past President, who has been on Jamii’s Board of Directors since its very first year in 2011.


Jamii continues to bring a lot of personal growth for me. I am grateful to have such a meaningful job in which I can pour all my passion. A job that I feel makes a difference in people’s lives and impacts positively on our community. I am looking forward to both celebrating Jamii’s 10th Season with all of you, and seeing the organization continue to thrive in our blooming and dynamic community.