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How The Studio Programming helped a youth grow (Staff Perspective)

In the summer of 2021, one of our therapists at the YWHO/Lumenus Community Services sent one of the youth to whom they were providing ongoing counselling services to The Studio Youth Drop-In’s on-line programming sessions. They had been encouraging this youth for some time to come and check out The Studio’s virtual programming, and although very wary of extending themselves beyond their comfort zone, the youth seemed interested, particularly in our Here Be Dragons tabletop role-playing games program. This 2SLGBTQ+ youth of Black and Asian background lived in the Eglinton West area and at the time was 13 years old. They were very shy, quiet, and lonely and had been experiencing a lot of bullying at school. They were struggling with self-confidence and having some difficulty making and holding on to friends. They had heard about the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game before and they had shown some interest in giving it a try. When this youth first began attending the online HBD sessions, they were still very shy. They never turned on their camera or their microphone and only communicated through texting in the chat box or through sharing their drawings. However, within a year of them joining, they are now one of our best attendees. They started turning on their camera and mic and joining in with the other youth in laughter and excitement over the fun of the game. They have made some lasting relationships with the other youth who attend the program and they are so disappointed when they aren’t able to attend a session. We have noticed such a marked turnaround with this youth in terms of their mood and mental health, and their therapist has reported that they seem like a different youth since they started coming to The Studio

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