When Max Paquin moved to Vancouver from Montreal as a teenager, he spoke almost no English and struggled to connect with his peers at school. His single mother encouraged him to get involved with Reel Youth, where he learned to express himself through the lens of a camera.
“What I noticed from taking videos or photos is that I’m able to say what I want to say, in a way that people can understand, without necessarily using words,” said Max.
At Reel Youth, Max found a community of people he could connect with and continued to take part in video production workshops. Now he has been hired by Reel Youth to work with professionals on client based film projects and learn the foundations of film production. It’s an opportunity that would not have happened without Central City Foundation.
With the support of our generous donors, CCF invests in innovative programs that promote a vibrant community for young people. Reel Youth is the definition of innovative as it travels to different communities throughout the country, teaching marginalized youth film skills ranging from animation, video production, music videos, claymation, photography, and more – culminating in the Reel Youth Film Festival.
In Vancouver, Reel Youth offers a mentorship program to youth living in the inner city. Students work closely with film experts on professional films for real clients, learning everything from planning, production, and post-production, while being supported financially.
Central City Foundation helped Reel Youth purchase new professional camera equipment that has increased their capacity to produce high quality videos for clients, giving them the opportunity to offer more employment to inner city youth.
“One of the challenges for non-profits is finding funding for infrastructure – for Reel Youth that’s camera equipment,” says Mark Vonesch, director of Reel Youth. “Central City Foundation’s grant really allowed us to up our production capabilities and because of that we were able to hire on Max. We’re excited to grow his leadership skills and give him opportunities to learn more about filmmaking and take the next step of actually starting to teach.”
Max is a perfect example of how a grant from Central City Foundation can create opportunities for so many youth. Whether it’s a struggling young woman finding her place at the Urban Native Youth Association as a youth leader, or a foster child starting her own granola company through taking business courses at Groundswell, our grants often create economic opportunities in unexpected ways.
As a result of Max’s employment at Reel Youth, he was able to purchase a professional camera for himself and has started his own photography business, Max Paq Photography.
“The funding from Central City Foundation has really helped me and because of that I’ve been able to help other people,” says Max. “I’m looking forward to working with the equipment in the future to show everyone how important this grant is to everyone at Reel Youth.”