Each year, the Creative Writing Program hosts the Words from the Street contest, which solicits submissions from workshop participants as well as others from underserved communities across the city. The contest culminates with what is always an emotional and poignant awards ceremony where the winners present a live reading of their work before an audience of their peers and members of the community at large.
The winner of the 2014 contest was Jillann Mignon, a graduate of the Ve’ahavta Street Academy. Jillann is now studying to be a community development worker and is an intern working at Ve’ahavta. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Mignon had this to say about the writing workshops: “They wanted to hear from us and they didn’t want us to sugar-coat it … I think I already had my voice, but this organization gave us the place to scream it from the rooftops. When you live in these marginalized communities, you carry such a huge burden on your shoulders. Writing is the healthiest way to express yourself. I’m so proud that I made it out alive.”