All good things come to an end, or so the saying goes. The truth is, endings are really hard for a lot of people. At RE-create, youth age out when they turn 25. Many youth start attending RE-create when they turn 16. Often, youth come for a period of time, disappear for a while and resurface again years later. But for some youth, RE-create becomes an integral part of their lives from the moment they first walk into the studio. When I started working at RE-create, I quickly learned that for many youth RE-create really becomes a haven.
On January 21st, I hosted my very first aging out. Over the past year and a half, I really got to know this particular youth. He was one of the first youth that made RE-create feel like home. I felt weird about him aging out; I didn’t know a RE-create without him. When any youth ages out, we want to send them off well. For this particular youth we ordered from Bella Pizza (his very favourite) because if you know him you know his love for pizza runs deep (so deep that he has a gooey slice tattooed on his arm). During studio, we spent time honouring him, many sharing stories from over the years. The next day, he posted this reflection about RE-create on his instagram account. With his permission, I share it with you.
- a place of safety or refuge.
You’re home. You’re a safe place. You’re a haven. When I was 18, at one of my lowest points, I was introduced to you. I walked in not truly knowing what to expect. I was greeted by some of the nicest people. There was a recent exhibition of custom made bikes. I was beyond excited to have a place like you to go to. I remember that day, I was really into Batman at the time. I was taught how to make a linocut print and I made the Batman symbol. Soon after that, I began to make friends. Through the years, there has been so much turnover with staff and volunteers, and through that I got close with every one. As the years went on, I was able to process everything through art. Through housing troubles, grief, hospitalizations, illnesses as well as happiness, laughter and excitement, you were my haven. Through all my dark and all my light. One month eventually became one year that eventually became five years that eventually became yesterday. Yesterday, after seven years spent three times a week with you, I had my aging out party. I am sad to leave you. I am sad to leave every single person in these photos. They have all shaped who I am. They have all made me who I am. I am so much better than where I was and I thank all of them for making RE-create a home. Love you all so much.”
Megarrah Buxton is the Studio Coordinator for RE-create Outreach Art Studio.