A talented musician and aspiring fashion designer, 17-year old college-bound Selena Norva loves sharing her passion for both the arts and her Filipina roots. Every weekend for the past four years, she’s been volunteering with children at St. Barbara’s international language program in central Scarborough. Fostering pride, not shame, in themselves and their cultural heritage made her an inspiring mentor. She’s taught the tricky and spirited bamboo dance Tinikling and powerful folk songs in Tagalog to an eager, hyphenated young generation.
“In Canada, we’re multicultural. Everyone can express their identity. It’s good to keep connected to that part of yourself.”
Every spring, Selena and her students’ sacrifice of freewheeling Saturdays pays off with an elaborate-costumed showcase for their families and the local community. “We get to see shows by the Vietnamese and Sri Lankan classes too. I love that.” Spoken like a true Canadian.