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Culture Shock Canada Charity*

Future Shock Ottawa performance

Our Purpose

Through structured urban dance-based education and enrichment programs for youth, Culture Shock Canada Charity (CSCC) addresses issues of social isolation & self-esteem, and builds relational, teamwork, and leadership skills.

These programs provide enriching self-esteem building activities, education in interpersonal skills, as well as a platform for practicing those skills, developing social bonds, and successfully working towards a challenging long-term goal with peers. This contributes to greater resilience; helping youth to reach their full potential.

*Charitable status application pending.  These services are not eligible for official donation receipts.


What We Address

Youth face many challenges through their crucial development years, as they build their sense of self, learn to deal with stress, and try to integrate into peer groups and society. Low self-esteem and social isolation have been identified as key factors that influence the development and wellness of youth and are becoming more prevalent in today’s society. These factors along with poor interpersonal skills often act in vicious cycles to perpetuate and worsen issues.

Vicious Cycles:

  • When youth have low self-esteem, they don't have the confidence to interact with others, leading to social isolation. When they are socially isolated, it further wears down their self-esteem.

  • When youth don't have relational and interpersonal skills, they don't interact effectively with others in a way that builds positive social connections and bonds, and they end up being socially isolated. When they are socially isolated, they don't have opportunity to develop or practice their relational skills.

Without internal self-confidence and external social supports, youth do not have resilience to overcome life challenges and work towards accomplishing longer-term goals. Resilience has been shown to be one of the key factors that influence the success of children and youth in reaching their full potential.


Why What We Do Works

Classroom based environments and activities are generally not attractive to youth who already spend so much time in class at school. Urban dance is popular and relatable to youth. This gets them motivated and keeps them engaged with the programs and activities designed to work towards addressing self-esteem and social isolation issues.

Structured dance and artistic expression activities have shown to be effective at building self-esteem in youth. Especially as youth build their skills and share and bond with their peers.

Experiential learning activities have been shown to be an essential way to build and practice relational, teamwork, and leadership skills.

Dance based activities also provide other relevant health and wellness benefits such as increased physical activity and fitness, a positive outlet for emotion and self-expression, and an alternative to negative influences and activities.

Culture Shock Canada Charity programs and activities leverage all of these factors and address the issues described in the Problem Statement/Rationale; breaking negative cycles by building self-esteem, reducing social isolation, and building interpersonal skills..


Annual Youth Showcase Fundraiser

On the afternoon of June 21st, 2003, several youth dance groups took a bow and completed another chapter in Culture Shock Canada's youth outreach program history. The first ever Youth Outreach Extravaganza (organized by Culture Shock Canada) showcased the many successful youth programs offered in Ottawa. The youth show, appropriately titled "A Moment Like This" personified the dance troupe's powerful mission to improve the well being and opportunity of youth and other community members.

In using hip hop dance, Culture Shock offers youth many moments for them to showcase their talents and skills. Through the challenge and thrills of performing on stage to the making up and teaching of choreography, youth are given many special moments in time. As they are positively reinforced to experience these moments, their well being and opportunity to fulfill a more positive lifestyle increases, thus helping achieve the goal of Culture Shock's Canada's youth outreach program.

Each summer, experience youth talent at its best and support Culture Shock Canada's mission by attending this incredible showcase. The popularity will only grow as Culture Shock youth programs and invited youth groups from all over the world are invited to perform.


Ottawa Community Programs

Current Programs

Coming soon!

Past Programs

Bellevue (Carlington Community)

Times: Thursdays (View Map)

In partnership with Carlington Community Health Centre and the City of Ottawa through funding from the Multicultural Health Coalition and the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, Culture Shock Canada has been able to offer a free hip hop dance program to youth in the Bellevue Manor community since March 1999. This program is Culture Shock Canada's pilot Youth Outreach project. The project aims at helping to reduce children and youth's risk behavior in an effort to avoid personal harm, conflict with the law and violence in the community as well as reducing barriers to participation. It also helps strengthen community capacity to address poverty by identifying individuals' talents, as discovered through their involvement in children's recreation and linking them to opportunities for employment.


Blackburn Hamlet and Gloucester Community

Times: Thursdays

In partnership with The Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre’s Child and Youth program, Culture Shock is please to offer free Hip Hop classes to the youth of Blackburn Hamlet and the Gloucester catchment area. This program strives to offer youth in the community an opportunity to express themselves in a safe and positive environment while at the same time building on their leadership skills, nurturing their creativity and encouraging individual self expression. The program will also allow the youth to become more familiar with other supportive service available to them thru the EORC such as the Blackburn Youth Drop In, The Youth and a Place for Success: Homework club, as well as counselling services offered at EORC.


Boys and Girls Club – Heatherington

Times: TBA

Heatherington Welcomes Culture Shock! Their energy is contagious and it is thrilling to watch, as Culture Shock leads the children who are part of the Heatherington community through their high energy hip hop dancing. Every Tuesday the group convenes and once the music starts pumping the group of 6-12yr olds can been seen mimicking the experienced instructors in a variety of twists and turns, tapping and clapping. It has been a great addition to the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa programming at Heatherington-we are grateful for the opportunity and the kids love it!


Carson Community

Times: Tuesdays (View Map)

In partnership with the Overbrook-Forbes Community Resource Centre's Youth Program and through funding from United Way and the City of Ottawa, Culture Shock has been able to offer free Hip-Hop classes to the youth in the Overbrook-Forbes, Manor Park and Carson's communities. The objective of the program is to be able to offer the high-risk youth in these communities the opportunity to nurture their voices, minds and transform their lives through the creative process of dancing. To instill in young people the confidence to ask important questions, make enriching choices and pursue meaningful opportunities to share their dance talents. In taking part of the production of a performance, they learn to work as a group, to develop strong leadership skills that are important in both personnal and professional areas. These skills include teamwork, assertiveness, time management and effective communication. To become role models of ahievement and success in their neighbourhoods and community.


Notre Dame High School

Times: TBA

Notre Dame High School welcomes Culture Shock Canda to its ACTIVE KIDS after school program. Over 36 youth are enjoying the dancing fun, Culture Shock style, before they sit down to daily academic tutoring in the Notre Dame Team Tutor program.


Overbrook-Forbes (Vanier Community)

Times: Mondays (View Map)

In partnership with the Overbrook-Forbes Community Resource Centre's Youth Program and through funding from United Way and the City of Ottawa, Culture Shock has been able to offer free Hip-Hop classes to the youth in the Overbrook-Forbes, Manor Park and Carson's communities. The objective of the program is to be able to offer the high-risk youth in these communities the opportunity to nurture their voices, minds and transform their lives through the creative process of dancing. To instill in young people the confidence to ask important questions, make enriching choices and pursue meaningful opportunities to share their dance talents. In taking part of the production of a performance, they learn to work as a group, to develop strong leadership skills that are important in both personnal and professional areas. These skills include teamwork, assertiveness, time management and effective communication. To become role models of ahievement and success in their neighbourhoods and community.

Toronto Community Programs

Current Programs

Coming soon!

Past Programs

City of Toronto – Park and Recreation Programs

In partnership with the City of Toronto's Parks and Recreation Culture Shock Toronto (CSTO) has facilitated after school programming for local youth at various community centers across the city, including Secord and the St. Lawrence Community Centre.


In-Class Workshops for Elementary, Middle and High School Students

Culture Shock Toronto (CSTO) has gone back to school!  Using inclusive methodologies to make dance more accessible, Culture Shock Toronto continues to foster creativity and physical fitness as we allow students to dance to their own unique beat.  So much more than a typical dance class, Culture Shock’s Urban Dance Experience fulfills curricular expectations related to Dance and Physical Education.   Children and youth across the following regions continue to experience the Culture Shock: Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Peel, Halton, York, Durham.  The expansion continues...


Professional Development Workshops for Teachers

Culture Shock Toronto (CSTO) has worked with many professional teacher organizations, such as the AECEO (Early Childhood Educators), CODE, TDSB, TCDSB, HWCDSB, Upper Canada Childcare and York Professional Care and Education.  We train educators and child-care workers on how to successfully integrate urban dance into their programming. CSTO's workshops provide meaningful pedagogical links and practical tools, like games and choreography, for the educators to use immediately in their professional practice. CSTO's dancers have also presented at Additional Qualification (AQ) courses under York University.


Summer Camps and Centers

School’s Out and Culture Shock is in!  Culture Shock Toronto (CSTO) has been a part of many camp programs across the GTA and surrounding areas.  We provide dance-based  hip hop workshops for children of all ages, from pre-school to high school aged youth, at many seasonal day camps, as well as afterschool programs run by organisations such as the YMCA.


The Early Years

Before High School and Elementary Schools there is the magic of the Early Years!  Fusing Culture Shock’s unique methods and emergent best practices of Early Childhood Education, preschoolers between 3 and 5 years of age have been able to hold it down on the dance floor!  Imagination and creativity are the pillars of this program.  Fundamental movement skills and community building  set against funky urban tunes! 


YMCA Play It Forward Program – Mississauga, Richmond Hill

In partnership with the YMCA, Culture Shock Toronto (CSTO) continues to train youth, from 16 and 18 years old, to become dance facilitators who, in turn develop dance-based programs for children in their communities. This pay-it-forward program initiative has been made possible through the YMCA organization and their sponsors and allows youth to become mentors in their own community. Culture Shock's involvement is to develop the youth's leadership skills and provide the tools necessary to become dance facilitators, which include musicality, athleticism, and choreography. The youth are then given the opportunity to play it forward and develop their own programs for their younger peers.

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