North Vancouver teen finds her passion and life purpose through arts-based program

North Vancouver teen finds her passion through arts-based program and launches campaign to raise funds to bring water tank and pipeline to remote village in Nepal:

It is such an honor to be facilitating The Inside Out Project at Mountainside Secondary, North Vancouver, with my colleague Ian Powell.

Recall posts: 




Passion-based learning:

The heart of the Inside Out Project is to awaken the passion within the participants- to encourage the students to own their journey– and to support them as they project-plan and as they enter their futures.  

Can art change the world? Maybe… we should change the question: Can art change people’s lives? – JR

Caddy’s passion:

Caddy Pattison, a Mountainside student who has struggled with school avoidance and her own challenges, awakened to her passion during the Inside Out Project– to make a positive global impact and to create awareness about conditions children and youth experience around the world.


Caddy is specifically inspired to raise awareness about children who need to walk miles for water daily, impeding their ability to attend school.

Serendipitously, when Caddy told me her idea,  I knew of a local/global cause that fits the bill.

The cause:

I connected Caddy with my friend, Kamala Yonzon, of the KYTFOUNDATION.


The Kamala Yonzon Tahrayli Foundation is a Vancouver, B.C.-based non-profit established to bring flowing water to a remote Nepali village in the Kabre Palanchowk District; Healay Chaubas.

Caddy’s mission:

Caddy’s mission is to help Kamala raise the $20,000 needed to build the tank and pipeline for her village. This will open the opportunity for children to attend school, for the building of a local hospital, to create employment etc.

My name is Caddy Pattison and I’m starting my year of empowerment and change by raising awareness for the remote Nepal village in the Kabre Palanchowk District; Healay Chaubas.

This community walks over an hour, several times a day, for a jug of water from the river. That means whenever they want to cook, clean, bathe, or simply get a drink they’re walking miles to do so. It is mostly the children and women of the community that are doing the walking and missing out on an education. With this campaign, I am looking to raise $20,000 for a water pipeline leading from the river to the village. There is also going to be a substantial walk in June to put ourselves in their shoes. Once the pipeline is started, it will create room for employment, education, and empowerment in the community.

We have the advantage in North America of having an endless water supply, free education, and millions of chances for employment. Take a moment to please like and share this page with your family and friends to raise awareness for this good cause. Donations will begin in May, but if you are eager to help, you can donate at . This is a honest, and tangible foundation. 100% of the proceeds will be going to building the pipeline. We are currently looking for sponsors for promotion.

Thank you for taking the time to read and your consideration. – Caddy Pattison

Caddy’s action plan:

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Caddy is now in process of achieving this goal.  She has met with Kamala, created a plan of action, a blog, a facebook page.

Caddy meeting with Kamala and Kamala's daughter, Suna.
Caddy meeting with Kamala and Kamala’s daughter, Suna.

Caddy’s blog:

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Caddy’s Facebook page:

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Caddy has presented to the school district:

Congratulations Caddy Pattison on an incredible presentation on Feb 10, 2015 in front of 150 teachers #SD44 on your #walkforwater project benefitting KYT FOUNDATION  and thank you Parmida Afsahi for documenting the event and to my colleague Ian Powell.
Congratulations Caddy Pattison on an incredible presentation on Feb 10, 2015 in front of 150 teachers #SD44 on your #walkforwater project benefitting KYT FOUNDATION and thank you Parmida Afsahi for documenting the event and to my colleague Ian Powell.

And has presented to the legislature in Victoria:

Sr. MSS student Caddy Pattison at the Victoria Legislature telling her story and experiences at MSS to the Premier and MLA's on this Bully Free Pink Shirt Day!! Caddy spoke eloquently about mental health, finding support at school, and wrap around services.
Sr. MSS student Caddy Pattison at the Victoria Legislature telling her story and experiences at MSS to the Premier and MLA’s on this Bully Free Pink Shirt Day!! Caddy spoke eloquently about mental health, finding support at school, and wrap around services.
Caddy and Mountainside principal, Jeremy Church, on their way to Victoria.
Caddy and Mountainside principal, Jeremy Church, on their way to Victoria.

And Caddy attends school!

Caddy has struggled with school avoidance and lack of engagement.  Mountainside has provided her with the safe haven she needs to heal and develop to her full potential.  And her Walk for Water Nepal project is teaching her life skills and academic skills in a way that has true longevity and positive impact on both Caddy and the community.

So what’s next?

Several events have been planned to lead up to the main fundraising event on Indiegogo Life in May.

Pre-launch events such as:

• Awareness and activty day with Braemar Elementary School

• A North Vancouver walk event

• An instagram hashtag selfie campaign

• A re-creation of the length of the walk and the weight of the water the children in the village have to endure on a daily basis.


So why this one cause, this one girl?

Caddy illustrates the future of educationpassion-based learning.  To truly engage students we must engage their passion and we must share our own.  Profound life skills are organically learned.  The student and teacher, the school and the community at large are profoundly and positively impacted.

When instruction is driven not just by data but by the passions of the students behind the data there is no child left behind scratching their head wondering what they’re going to do with their lives. – Lisa Nielsen

So what can you do to help? 

Caddy’s cause needs $.  That is indeed the goal- for Caddy to present Kamala with a cheque for $20,000 by June 2015.  On one hand, that is alot of $.  But is it?  Not in this internet age.

• So start saving your pennies for the May campaign.

• Stay tuned here for the events mentioned above.

• If you are in the media, interview Caddy.

• If you are on social media: Share Caddy’s story.  Share Kamala’s story.

• If you are inspired by this story, find your own passion.  Share it with us!

Much love and stay tuned!!!

– Katarina

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Photo by KYT Foundation




Inside Out: youth empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

I am so excited to be part of this incredible project inspired by my hero JR:


MOUNTAINSIDE SECONDARY: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey

Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of portrait photography and street art to learn life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

THEMES: Connection and Empowerment


Pilot Project: September 30, 2014- October 30, 2014


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Mountainside Secondary School (MSS) is the North Vancouver School Districts smallest and newest secondary school, meeting the Ministry of Education requirements for funding as an Alternative School (BCEDAlternate Program Policy).

MSS functions as part of the continuum of social/emotional/behavioural supports that are available to all students at all secondary schools in the NVSD, and targets students in Grades 9-12 (ages 14-19).
MSS aims to allow for varied and alternate pathways to graduation (80 credit or Adult) or School Completion, and beyond.

MSS Core Values

  • Mutual respect
  • Genuine relationships
  • Flexibility
  • Choice
  • Individual accountability
  • Community Connections
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TEST SHOOT, INTERSECTIONS MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH SOCIETY, 2013-2014 (including Mountainside students/alumni)

We are proud to be part of the global art initiative INSIDE OUT PROJECT founded by JR:






As mentioned, we are part of a global art initiative founded by French street artist JR, winner of the 2011 Ted Talk Prize.  Our project is called: The Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey.

As they work through the curriculum, the students will be gaining some valuable life and transferable skills.

We use TED TALKS to inspire and to induce dialogue and self-reflection around the theme.

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Student journal entry

When you try to be yourself there will be people who will put you down. You grow up looking up to people and not knowing who you are and being told what to do and what not to do. We all deal with pain in different ways- some do it in a sad way. Having to live in a world where judging a person we don’t even know is a good way to make yourself feel better, or even judging a person makes ‘cool.’ But in the end we are all on this earth for a reason ans we should all love ourselves the way we are and respect all of our good qualities and get rid of all the negative, cruelty thoughts. – student journal entry

We are registering our project with JR’s site on Tuesday! And our unique angle is that it is a youth run project and that by addressing their own vulnerability by connecting w people/community through portrait photography, the youth, in turn, empower the subject to feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of the camera!
The project will culminate in a large outdoor installation in the Spring.  A documentary and a behind the scenes short film will also be produced!



Co-facilitator Ian Powell and his dog, Finnegan!






Source: The Music Empowers Foundation
Source: The Music Empowers Foundation



GLOBAL: Creative Director, Anna Thorsen

LOCAL: Art Director, Kat Thorsen (Vancouver BC)

MISSION: To awaken creative expression

VISION: To develop global art initiatives

Art Events, Street Art, Apparel, Curriculum Development, Workshops, Workbooks, Speaker Series, Craftivism, Illustration, Portraiture, Documentaries, Graphic Novels


Curriculum Development Series 1:


Sock Monkey

Life Skills and Entrepreneurship Program

for youth groups, schools and community organizations


Phase 1:

Pilot Project Phase 1: May to June 2014

Introductory Message from Katarina Thorsen

In my role as art director at @bypoststreet, and as therapeutic art facilitator in the Lower Mainland, I am fulfilling my passion to awaken creative expression in everyone around me.  I do this through visual art, art facilitation, art events, street art, blogging, journaling and craftivism.  Especially sock monkeys.

Sock monkeys are a significant part of my work.  Perhaps my life’s work!

I have been delivering sock monkey therapy and workshops for years and there is nothing quite as magical as witnessing the smiles on participants as they awaken to the healing power of the sock monkey.   I use sock monkeys as part of my therapeutic art classes for at-risk youth and in my general art classes for all ages.  The process is quite miraculous.  The simple process of making a loveable creature allows for a moment of safety and caring.  The socialization and resulting dialogue is part of the magic.  Each stitch in a sock monkey contains thoughts, laughter, tears, dreams, horror, joy, secrets, trust etc.  The natural instinct for many is to want to make more and to share them.

There are so many stories:

H. using a sock monkey to comfort her as she testified in court against an abusive boyfriend.  T. making a sock monkey for his sick friend to take to treatment.  M., struggling with mental health issues, making sock monkeys with worn socks and dental floss and couch stuffing, bringing them to me to send to Africa.  C. using sock monkey making in her work with people living with Alzheimer’s.  A. making a sock monkey for her hero, after his mom passed away.  L. using sock monkeys to process trauma to face her abuser and to create dialogue and raise esteem in her peers.  H. interpreting her favorite artist’s work through sock monkeys then connecting with the artist through her micro-industry online sales and social media.  The entire school (Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary, North Vancouver) infused with sock monkey fever as we made 200 for Operation Sock Monkey.


Lindsey Hodgson and her Operation Sock Monkey team working GLOBALLY,  delivering 1000’s of sock monkeys to children in South Africa, Nepal, India, Haiti, Northern Canada and more.  Passion Foundation bringing sock monkeys as comfort for young victims at a rape relief crisis center in Cape Town.  Families using sock monkeys to help comfort their terminally ill children and themselves.  The use of sock monkeys in attachment therapy with Clowns Without Borders.  Women in Woza Moya making an income through sock monkey making.

Photo by Woza Moya Project

Little Maxx annually bringing smiles to children in a hospital in Philadelphia as he gathers sock monkey donations.

Photo courtesy of Operation Sock Monkey
Photo courtesy of Operation Sock Monkey

And the amount of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises…

Heal monkey

It’s endless.  The feedback I get could fill a book and maybe it should.  It’s hard to imagine the actual number of people  who utilize the power of sock monkey  to make the world a better place.  And I am honored to be a small, albeit extremely passionate and vocal, member of that tribe.

I still make them on my own.  All the time.  I make them as my art.  They help me calm down.

Photo by Darcy Glip
Photo by Darcy Glip

I make them as a volunteer operative of Operation Sock Monkey.  I am passionate about spreading the word.  I get countless requests to teach sock monkey making.  But there is only one me, so my brother, filmmaker Fred Thorsen, created this wonderful video for me (originally offered as a class for Six Degrees of Creativity):

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

But there is a whole new level of sock monkey therapy that I want to explore. 

• What

I want to develop a life skills/entrepreneurship curriculum/workbook/workshop to increase the extraordinary powerful impact of sock monkey making– a replicable model that allows youth groups, schools, community organizations and Operation Sock Monkey to use sock monkey therapy to create healing opportunities and to teach business skills, business planning and mind-mapping, essential life skills and the power of entrepreneurship through a  project-based learning model.    I want to develop a powerful, easy to use tool to deliver the life skills, to awaken creativity, to increase the production of sock monkeys for income and for charity.  The pilot project will involve seven local young women (graduates of my various youth-at-risk art programming) to test the curriculum and to help facilitate local workshops.

• Why now?

This is a critical time to begin the project as Christmas craft fairs are taking applications now for their 2014 tables, as schools are planning their 2014-2015 scheduling, as my team is ready to go, and as I have opened my life to this moment to dedicate my time to it.

I want to pay the fee to become a licensed Right Brain Business Plan facilitator to increase the power of the curriculum and to be able to expand the @bypoststreet curriculum event further.

I want the curriculum to be translatable and easy to deliver– locally and globally.

I am so tired of seeing cutbacks in programming, seeing schools and community programs have very little funding for workshop facilitators, yet desperate to bring them in.  I want to create an easy means for these organizations to utilize the curriculum I have created on their own.  I don’t want them to struggle financially to be able to deliver this powerful tool.  And I don’t want to have to struggle financially anymore due to programming cutbacks!

As I wrote already, there is only one me, so I want to spread the curriculum by “training the trainers.”

I have dedicated my life to awakening creative expression in others, and now is the time for me to increase the scope of that teaching, to utilize all my knowledge and to build a new career for myself where I actually make a living through sustainable curriculum development around creative expression (from sock monkeys, to visual art, art events, journaling, business development,  etc.).

I am the one to do this.  I got this.  You know I do!

Teaching my nephew Henrik how to sew.  Photo by Darcy Glip.
Teaching my nephew Henrik how to sew. Photo by Darcy Glip.

• How?


I am looking to raise immediate funds to begin this critical phase to be able to focus on it fully in May and June.  If you have been touched by the work that I do, and would like to see this project come to fruition, please donate.


a. Develop the curriculum covering:

Creative Expression, Therapeutic Groups, Art Techniques, Project-based Learning, Employment Skills, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, Mindmapping, Business Plans, Community Outreach, Operation Sock Monkey, Social Media

b. Right Brain Business Plan Facilitator License– for @bypoststreet Art Director, Katarina Thorsen

c. Develop Pitch and Power Point Presentation

d. Christmas Craft Show application fees

e. Initial Team Development

f. Community Partnerships and Grant Applications




All donors will be acknowledged on website and in workbook.

Donations of $55 or more will receive a handmade sock monkey with “YES” on it’s belly!




Phase 2:

July-October 2014

• Implement Pilot Project with group of seven local young women.

• Provide honorariums to pilot project team.

• Test curriculum, document and evaluate.

• Develop community partnerships (including- Operation Sock MonkeyPassion FoundationGlobal SororityGirls4GirlsMountainside Secondary SchoolByrne Creek Secondary SchoolNorth Shore Neighborhood HouseSquamish NationHawthorne Care Centre)

• Grant applications.

Loretta Cella, Passion Foundation, with sock monkeys headed to South Africa as part of Loretta's work at Patch Centre.
Loretta Cella, Passion Foundation, with sock monkeys headed to South Africa as part of Loretta’s work at Patch Centre.

Phase 3:

October 2014- January 2015

• Create a sustainable model and workbook.

• Create website.

• “Train the trainers” workshop series.

• School and community workshops, craft shows and online sales.

• Community outreach.

• Evaluate.

Phase 4:

Early 2015

• Workshop and speakers series.

• Community collaboration.

• Global outreach- initial cities New York (Harlem Children’s Zone) and San Francisco (The Centre for Young Women’s Development).

• Evaluate sustainable model.

Phase 5:

Fall 2015

• Expand curriculum series to include visual art, street art initiatives, interactive art projects,  journaling, intergenerational projects, and project based learning.

• Expand global outreach to South Africa (Woza Moya).



Wounded angel. Haavoittunut Enkeli. #custodyart

IMG_4126WOUNDED ANGEL, 2008 [by “Steph” and “Vincent”]

This unframed painting on raw canvas (65″ x 76″) was made during my therapeutic art classes at a youth custody centre. Read below to find out its creation.





Many of the youth I currently work with are involved with the juvenile justice system in one way or another. I LOVED my time volunteering at Burnaby Youth Custody Centre in 2006-2008. It started with the “Friday Art Class,” then it turned into the “Friday Art Classes,” then “Monday, Wednesday, Friday” etc. etc.!  The  residents taught me so much of the healing power of art and that there are no bad kids, just bad decisions.

I had only one rule: NO CENSORSHIP while in my art class, and it really is a powerful rule. Allowing free expression fosters camaraderie. Art is also a tool to educate the youth on conflict resolution and to act as a way to practice restorative justice.

Restorative justice fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability. – Wikipedia

A particular incident led to an unusual relationship between two residents. A young woman and young man (in their mid teens) had had an altercation over the issue “snitching.” The staff had requested they not be allowed to participate in my art classes as a form of “punishment.” I asked that instead of feeding the tension by denying them art sessions, I work with them together. The staff graciously accepted my request. “Steph” and “Vincent” went on to form a deep bond as they created together. They produced a number of astounding large paintings.

It was an EXTRAORDINARY experience for all of us.

This painting was created after “Steph” returned to custody broken and worn-down by an unsuccessful release. “Vincent” was very interested in art history and inspired by the original painting “Haavoittunut Enkeli” by Finnish artist Hugo Simberg, he suggested that he and “Steph” work on a new large piece together to represent helping “Steph” recover and embracing her without judgment.

For more custody art, go to:

Now for sale on ESTY:

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Bibliophile: #GRAFFITI. #streetart

Cooper, M., Chalfant, H. (2009) Subway Art- 25th Anniversary Edition, San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books

Almqvist, B., Lindblad, T.B., Jacobsen, M., Sjöstrand, T. (2007) Gates of Graffiti, Åstra, Sweden: Dokument Förlag (now Dokument Press)

Stewart, J. (2009) Graffiti Kings- New York City Mass Transit Art of the 1970s, New York, NY: Melcher Media

Emmerling, L. (2003) Basquiat, Cologne, Germany: Taschen

Ganz, N. (2004) Graffiti World- street art from five continents, New York, NY: Abrams

Ganz, N. (2006) Graffiti Women- street art from five continents, New York, NY: Abrams

Gastman, R., Neelon, C., Smyrski, A. (2007) Street World- urban art and culture from five continents, New York: NY: Abrams

Jacoby, A. (ed.) (2009) Street Art San Francisco- Mission Muralismo, New York, NY: Abrams

Lewisohn, C. (2008) Street Art- The Graffiti Revolution, New York, NY: Abrams

Jacobson, M. (2000) They Call Us Vandals- Swedish Graffiti, Åstra, Sweden: Dokument Förlag (now Dokument Press)

Banksy (2005) Banksy- Wall and Piece, London, UK: Century (Random House)

Martinez, Scape (2009) Graff: the art and technique of Graffiti, Cincinnati, Ohio: Impact Books

Smith, K. (2007) The Guerilla Art Kit, New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press

Mosquito Creek, North Vancouver BC, 2008 (local artists):

Sometimes I need to remind myself that self-celebration is a good thing… #testimonials


It has been an incredible pleasure to watch Katarina work with our youth, some of which were the more difficult youth to manage… She has an amazing rapport with all the kids and staff alike.  In all my years in corrections I have never witnessed an individual with such a powerful connection with the clients we work with.

– Katherine Solkowski, Volunteer and Program Coordinator, Burnaby Youth Custody Centre

I appreciated your honesty and openess about your own experiences.  I had a lot of fun drawing, hadn’t drawn since I was little.

– Criminology Student (Restorative Justice), Simon Fraser University

Made me think about different learning styles… drawing is therapeutic!

– Criminology Student (Restorative Justice), Simon Fraser University

The thing I appreciated most about your work was that you remain open and non-judgmental with every student so that they are free to express their deepest, inner-most thoughts.  Even in our classroom, where we all insisted we were NOT artists, you encouraged us and we all ended up creating our own little works of art that I think we were all quite proud of.

– Criminology Student (CRIM 417), Simon Fraser University

I’m very proud of the artwork I made during your visit.

– K., Criminology Student (Safe Schools & Community), Simon Fraser University

I feel like I really appreciate the use of art for restorative practices, especially by getting to experience it myself.

– C., Criminology Student (Safe Schools & Community), Simon Fraser University

One of the best classes I’ve had at SFU.

– L., Criminology Student (Safe Schools & Community), Simon Fraser University

I never knew I could draw so well.

– J., Criminology Student (Safe Schools & Community), Simon Fraser University

Katarina Thorsen showed me how I could change.

– C.M., Criminology Student (CRIM 417), Simon Fraser University

Since you use art or a creative approach to help these youths, I have decided to add my own creative approach to represent restorative justice and how I view it.

– Criminology Student (CRIM 417), Simon Fraser University

The two drawings you taught the class were very meaningful.  I especially like the second drawing of the boy as my drawing is not that bad.  My self-esteem on artwork has raised after I see the results of my drawings and I realized that I can actually draw a person with their eyes, ears, nose and mouth neatly located and structured.  While we are drawing, I believe I have the sense of something you talked about in how art work open dialogue.  When the class was drawing, unintentional laughs and jokes are created by students.  The laughs and jokes are opportunities for students to interact in a comfortable way.  You also inspire me that I can turn my passion, in your case art, into something I can do as a job.

– J.W., Criminology Student (CRIM 417), Simon Fraser University

Your work with teenagers should be the lead story of every newspaper! I am a Recreation Therapist on a Level IV prison located in Los Angeles County and a lot of these guys could have warded off the boredom and anger of being a teenager by making art.  Thank you for changing lives- you are an inspiration!

 L. T.

The paintings of Alicia Love- fierce young talent ready for the world! #youthart #arttherapy


I have written about Alicia Love before:




Today we did a photo-shoot of her current catalogue!  (Click on the images for larger views.)

Just as she was an integral part of my pullout art program at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School.

Today’s highlights:


I am in the process of arranging a youth art exhibit.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, you can buy some of Alicia’s work on my online store!  More items will be posted soon:

I am so pleased to bear witness to the evolution of this young artist!