I found out about the Fully Living podcast a year ago and was amazed to hear that their podcast was by and for youth in Regent Park.
Fully Living is a collective of youth leaders in the Regent Park neighbourhood. The group’s mission is to promote literacy, social awareness, safe spaces and have meaningful conversation through podcasting. They currently run their podcast out of Daniels Spectrum. The youth leaders have experienced life challenges and take this opportunity as a chance to help the next generation learn from their experiences.
The goal of the group is to empower all adolescents facing difficult circumstances and motivate them to continuously work on developing themselves, encouraging them to pursue their dreams. Fully Living ultimately aims to inspire new groups of youth leaders who will then inspire others within the community to make a positive difference.
Fully Living also has a program for youth called ‘Rex Reads’ where they teach youth in grade school literacy skills and help improve their reading.
I sat down with Rex — the founder of the program — and asked him a few questions.
Why did you start the podcast?
I started this podcast because my friends and I have always listened to podcasts and realized how necessary it was for us to also share out truth. In our podcasts we speak about the intricacies of navigating the world as a Muslim. Nowadays there’s so much going on in the world and it’s important that we hear first hand from those who are being portrayed negatively in the media. People hate what they fear and that’s the problem in the world. It’s important that we continue to share our stories, all of us, so we may understand one another.
What have you learnt?
I learnt that it’s not the easiest thing being consistent with the podcast. We record one episode a week and at first I thought it would’ve been easy but staying consistent and getting everyone to all come together is not always easy. We’ve had many guests on the show and which each guest that’s come on the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s not about convincing people to see things your way, but rather listening and knowing that it’s okay to be in the same room with someone you totally disagree with.
What hopes do you have for the reading program in the future?
I hope to help 100 youth improve their literacy skills in the next two years. I also hope that we can have them learn about podcasts and motivate them to try it. Since we began we’ve had about 15 youth come through our program and it’s been extremely rewarding for my team and I. I really hope that we can continue supporting these kids and continue working in our community.
You can find their podcast on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Music under ‘Fully Living Podcast’.
Yasin Osman is a CSI Regent Park PECA and Shoot for Peace Photographer & Storyteller