It was a cold, snowy night; the type of evening perfect for staying home in front of your favourite show on Netflix. Milton’s creative writing community had different ideas. They came together February 7 for a meet-up organized by Arts Milton at the Milton Public Library’s Bandura Lounge.

It was a two-hour meet-up. In the first half, writers had the chance to meet, and network with each other. They chatted about different projects in the works. Arts Milton Coordinator Kaitlyn Patience gave out 15 different cue cards. On the cards, participants had to write one question, and one answer. Participants then went around the room, each reading their answers, and questions. There more than a few chuckles. Next came a presentation from Spoken Word Poet Frishta Bastan of Fresh Word Poetry. She spoke about her struggle with identity. The floor was opened to other authors and illustrators to get up and talk about their works. Attendees heard from By Laura Steiner Photos by Rick Di Lorenzo Diksha Pal Narayan regarding a children’s book she’d written regarding the Hindu holiday Diwali, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MY Voice Canada Nargis Naqvi.

The MY in My Voice stands for Muslim Youth. It was a made in Milton effort, started approximately 4.5 years ago in the Beaty Branch Library by Naqvi. She’d sent out a big email to parents asking if they had kids who would be interested in running in a publication. She gathered a group of 12 teenagers. The first job was to name the magazine, and all voted for the MY Voice name. They launched it at the Muslim Festival in the summer of 2013. “Everybody needs to have a voice. I feel like teenagers aren’t really understood. They are confused themselves. They’re kind of stuck in between,” Naqvi said. Naqvi did a lot of the research on how to start a publication.

A year after the magazine started, other adults in the teens’ lives started noticing a difference. “Some of their guidance councillors were telling me how their relationships have changed. They were just happier. The teens are involved in every aspect of the magazine from the stories they cover to the marketing and promotion. They have expanded to include all youth no matter the race/ religion. “Youth are youth. They need the outlet,” Naqvi said. MY Voice is a not-for-profit organization that can give volunteer hours. For more information visit: www.myvoicecanada.com. For more information on Arts Milton visit: www.artsmilton.com
Photos by: Rick Di Lorenzo

Laura Steiner
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