Leann Hughes – Song writing contest WINNER!

Congratulations to Leann Hughes for winning the 2019 St. Alban’s song writing contest with her track, Taking Me Higher. 

Jo’el Douglas presents the prize cheque to Leann Hughes, 2019 Songwriting contest winner.

Leann has been active in the Toronto music community for a 5 years, starting when she first found her voice on her church’s choir. From there, Leann started exploring jazz and RnB. She recently started writing her own songs as she felt limited by the songs provided to her and felt she could create her own. With the help of INC studio, Leann creates amazing songs both for herself and for music lovers!

Listen to the winning track, Taking Me Higher.

St. Alban’s youth visit Sunchild First Nation School in Alberta!

St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club at Crescent Falls Clearwater County, Alberta. May 25, 2019

In part 1, we described the wonderful time we had when the students of Sunchild School came to visit us here in Toronto. Now on to Part 2 – our turn to visit them! On our trip to Sunchild First Nations School in Alberta we were pushed out of our comfort zones. We camped in Tipis for the day, went mountain biking, went to a PowWow, went for a hike in the mountains and learned about the community, helped the elders and painted a mural during our community engagement day.

This youth exchange trip was a really great experience for me. We got along really well with the students of Sunchild school. I have some really amazing memories with my friends from Toronto and my new friends in Sunchild. Even though we will probably never see them again, it was an extraordinary experience I will never forget. If we had the choice again I’d do it in a heartbeat. Also I learned “Paskwaw mostos” – this means buffalo/bison in Cree.


My favourite thing that we did was when we went to the mountains and then went to the pow wow at the school.

Photo of one of our twins dancing Fancy Shawl in the PowWow Sunchild Reserve, Alberta. May 25, 2019

The day we saw the pow wow was amazing! Many of us had never been to a Pow Wow. Just to see how the community comes to together to celebrate is awesome. For us this pow wow was a little extra special as one of our “twins” was a dancer in the celebration.

As a staff I love participating in this program. The YMCA Youth Exchange program teaches the youth about culture, to step out of their comfort zones and try new things that they would never otherwise have the chance to do.

Kat Bonnell
Tony & Sunchild Youth standing in front of their room for the night

Where will next year’s Youth Exchange take us? Stay tuned!

Countdown to Camp – Meet Hibo!

Hibo, Summer Camp Staff

Favourite summer memory:
Wet ‘n’ wild water park, my little friend Maya was afraid of water slides but with a little encouragement she faced her fears and we ended up having a great time going down that slide together

Favourite summer activities:
Rock climbing, soccer baseball, capture the flag, and Friday Field Trips!!

What I’m looking forward to this summer:
To the new groups of superstars I’ll be meeting soon and making long lasting memories together

What I’m nervous about:
I’m on the less nervous and more excited side of the spectrum

If I had one superpower:
Definitely wish I could teleport! St. Albans by day, world traveler by night!

Power Youth Exhibition

The Power Youth Showcase took place at Harbourfront in June and gave the youth a chance to show off everything they have been working on this year in the program.

Showcase took place at Harbourfront in June and gave the youth a chance to show off everything they have been working on this year in the program.

On Monday and Wednesday evenings from January to April, youth at the Humber Clubhouse, Boys & Girls Clubs of Weston-Mount Dennis, and 155 Neptune Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lawrence Heights, worked with their selected Artist-in-Residence, Hip Hop artist, Grivanni Binger, aka Gene One. With his multi-talented background, Gene One helped youth learn two aspects of Hip Hop culture: beat-production and graffiti. Youth gained practical skills in design and production, while also engaging in discussion about the politics of art.

From September through December, Humber youth worked with Lee Pham, artist, producer and break dancer, known in the breaking community as Lethal. Fifth generation member of world renowned b-boy crew, SuperNaturalz.

St. Alban’s Youth welcome Sunchild First Nation School!

St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club and Sunchild First Nation School at the CN Tower on May 13th 2019

On May 9th, St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club had the pleasure of hosting a group of students from Sunchild First Nation School, who live on the Sunchild 202 Reserve in Alberta. They arrived to Toronto as part of the Youth Exchanges Canada (YEC) program: The YEC is a unique program that gives youth the opportunity to travel to another province or territory, learn about Canada’s heritage, and take pride in their own communities.

During their stay, St. Alban’s youth and Sunchild First Nation school students got to know each other through ice-breaker games during a pot-luck dinner.  Afterwards, students played a group game of volleyball, which built their communication, leadership, and teamwork skills! 

We started off the week with a guided bus tour of downtown Toronto, exploring Casa Loma, Yorkville, Chinatown, Nathan Phillips Square, and the University of Toronto. The tour highlighted Toronto’s culture and diversity. We finished the day off with a Toronto Blue Jays game, which many students said they are a fan of!

Later in the week, students participated in the annual DSAT Buddy Walk supporting Down Syndrome awareness for community engagement.  Sunchild First Nation students witnessed a beautiful and emotional speech by our long-time youth member Olivia and her mother. We ended the 5-day itinerary with a day trip to Niagara Falls, the CN Tower and the Ripley’s Aquarium!

Alban’s and Sunchild School youth at Niagara Falls

St. Alban’s has participated in this program for 15 years and this is the 2nd year in a row that St. Alban’s leaders Cindy and Kat have done the program together. What makes this program extra special are the relationships that are made. It’s also fun to interact with new people and learn about different cultures across Canada.  I would highly recommend this program to all youth. It is definitely a life-changing experience.

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, highlighting our experience at Sunchild First Nation School!

Countdown to Camp – Meet Paige!

Paige, Summer Camp Staff

Favorite summer memory growing up
Riding my bike on dirt paths with my cousin and friends. 

Favorite summer activities?
I love going to water parks 

What are you looking forward to this summer?
Seeing new and old faces return to Summer Camp

Anything you are nervous about?
I’m most nervous about how cold the pool water will be

If you had one super power what would it be and why?
That’s simple… to be stronger than all of the infinity stones (TEAM MARVEL)

Sadie – future teacher, pizza skeptic.

Meet Sadie! She’s is in Grade 2 and attends our STARS After School program at Rawlinson P.S. Her favourite colour is green. If she could be a food, it would be a sandwich instead of a pizza because pizza is gross. (A kid who doesn’t like pizza…whaaaa?)

Her favourite animal is a raven and her favourite toy is Hatchimals. She prefers summer time because winter gear take too long to put on. (Editor’s note: Agreed!) Sadie and her best friend are always making up new games. Sadie would like to be a teacher. She loves strawberry ice cream. If she could be an animal, it would be a shark because they regrow their teeth.

Thunderclaw – award winning recording artist

Thunderclaw, winner of last year’s song writing competition at St. Alban’s.

“The St. Albans INC Studio has allowed me the space to focus on developing my craft and sound along with mastery of handling studio time management and efficiency, enabling me to finish projects much faster than when I started.

My advice to new participants coming to the Studio is that the studio is brimming with and surrounded by resources and connections that are very valuable. And very experienced engineers that have a lot of advice; be sure to make use of these assets as they are all there to help you move forward as an artist, expand your skill sets and become more experienced in whatever ventures you take on.”


Meet two of our INC Studio Engineers:


Jo’el has been with the INC Sound Studio for 4 years. He started his musical journey from a young age when his mother, a gospel singer recorded, produced, and pressed her own vinyl in Jamaica. Jo’el has worked with notable local and international artists including Shaggy, Kardinal Offishall, and Drake’s producer Shebib 40/40. 

Combining his love of music production and education, he has helped incorporate alternative features to the INC program including Beatmaking and “Bar Count” sessions for participants to expand into different facets of the music industry.

“Youth should have access to education and resources that can help shape their skill sets and create sustainable careers.”  ~Jo’el Douglas


Garjanah graduated from TREBAS Institute and began doing freelance work for Sheridan College animation students, and for underground Toronto artists. Garjanah believes that St. Alban’s INC Studio is a great place for youth to jump start their musical creativity. 

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel 

Teniyah Mills – lover of macaroni pie and dinosaur bones!

Teniyah Mills, 8, one of our best customers at the Jane and Finch Grandravine site’s lunch and after school programs.

“I love the food, it is so yummy!”

Teniyah’s favourite hot lunches are beef tacos, macaroni pie and chicken caesar wraps.  Her favourite afternoon snacks are chicken taquitos and grilled cheese sandwiches.

“I also love my friends. I made a lot of new friends at the Club, that are now my friends at school. I also love the staff.  Ms. Keanna cooks yummy foods and Ms. Micaela, Ms. Christina and Ms. Shaquela give me lots of hugs, teach me new words, crafts and all the new dance moves.”

Teniyah loves arts and crafts, she enjoys splat painting and drawing pictures of her Daddy in heaven as well as her family. Teniyah loves to dance and has great rhythm. She aspires to be apart of our Artistically Out Spoken (AOS) dance team when she is of age and perform at STOMP (a dance competition). Teniyah especially loves outdoor activities and looks forward to NIKE’s monthly visits with us.

I want to be a doctor when I grow up!
When Melanie and Jason visit us on Tuesday afternoons from the ROM, they taught us about bones. Then we went on a trip to the ROM and they showed us old bones and dinosaur bones. I knew then, that I wanted to be a doctor and fix bones. I wanted to fix dinosaur bones, but they don’t exist anymore, so I will heal and fix people and people bones.