by Amalia Judith Nickel

We are Team Heartbreak, a women-led production company whose core goal is to combine good work with good art, challenging the status quo of mainstream media. We want to be ourselves to the extreme degrees of our imaginations – if we can dream it, we can do it. We come from all walks of life, and none among us is unaffected by violence from within our families, partners, or communities. We stand strongly behind the work that BWSS does and we feel in our very natures that we are drawn to support these initiatives.

Create Your Own is a youth-led initiative that was started in the hopes of both educating and inspiring the youth in our community. Combining the Battered Women’s Support Services YOUth Dating Violence curriculum with songwriting, recording, branding and videography workshops is a way for us to plant seeds of compassion and empowerment while building skills and developing creative expression. We have been fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Vancouver Foundation, enabling us to take this dream and run with it.

Create Your Own utilizes mentors from within the community and the music industry and builds a foundation of mentorship with school programs. For our first upcoming series at Britannia’s Alternative Education program, Juno award-winning rapper Shad and world-renowned songstress Tonye Aganaba will teach – both through relationship and practical skills -the art of songwriting. DJ K-Rec will help the students record and master the tracks, while East Vancouver entrepreneur and creator of the “Welcome to Eastvan” brand Rob G will be helping with T-shirt design and branding.

Marcel Daly, Amalia Judith Nickel, Zoe Peled, Tiffany Jaeger, Rona Amiri, Rob G.

Rona Amiri from BWSS YOUth Ending Violence prevention program will be delivering the curriculum over 5 sessions in small doses, with youth liaison Tiffany Jaeger and Heartbreak members Amalia Judith, Kassandra Guagliardi, Zoe Peled and Alex Liakakos supporting and facilitating in other capacities. We will also be documenting the process – with the help of the students – via the inspired film-making skills of Marcel Daly. After the sessions, we hope to have several songs recorded, t-shirts designed and printed, a video to share with the world, and to have successfully cultivated an increased knowledge of dating violence and how to prevent it.

As a young team, we are somewhat new to this work but our enthusiasm and passion for it drives us to do it fearlessly and without regret. Our plan is one of fluidity – we are here to learn from the youth, to be inspired by their energy, and to take each individual’s spark of imagination and teach them how to build it into a fire. We want all the lives we touch to take on a sense of confidence, of increased self-awareness and of pride in their ability to create something beautiful – in essence, to create their own. @Teamheartbreakz @shop_wrong @dominentfactor

“Create Your Own” is funded by Vancouver Foundation and My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise of BWSS.