“I love it when I get to dance with other kids,” says Esha, a 10-year-old bursary student who dances at Arts Umbrella six hours each week and also takes theatre classes. “It can be hard to remember all the choreography, but when I finally remember the steps, I totally get into the dance.”

For about two-thirds of Arts Umbrella students, like Esha, a chance to remember the steps, or access any arts programming comes with barriers.

“As a single parent with no financial support from the other parent, it has been incredibly difficult at times to expose Esha to a diverse and well-balanced childhood,” says Shameem, Esha’s mom. “Esha is aware of the need for financial support and I believe it has made her more empathetic towards others…to appreciate the kindness of people we do not know.”

As Esha continues her dance and theatre classes, her confidence and dedication grow too. “I like coming there,” Esha says, “I get excited to try new things,” – showing how kids can flourish and explore their potential when they find a safe and supportive outlet.

“She is becoming more and more confident and expressive in her language and sense of self,” says Shameem.

Arts Umbrella programs are especially important for the family as they share a strong love for the arts – in part, a legacy of Esha’s grandfather, who danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“Esha never had the opportunity to meet her grandpa, but she has him in her life, especially through dance.”

The Arts Umbrella Bursary Fund

Esha and many other students develop creative confidence at Arts Umbrella because of our generous Bursary Fund donors. In 2014-15, the support of these donors allowed the Arts Umbrella Bursary Fund to provide important financial support to 349 families.

Thank you Bosa Properties Foundation, CKNW Orphans’ Fund, Kinder Morgan Foundation, London Drugs Foundation, Marin Investments, Momentum Fitness, and Polygon Homes – our 2014-15 Bursary Fund supporters. Together, we make a difference in young lives.