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Youth Feature – Joel Zola from Street Voices


Meet Joel Zola from Street Voices

Video and Transcription by Fonna Seidu
[Intro] I guess the streets became my education. I started hanging out with the street dudes and they really taught me a lot about business and about money and about how to communicate with people, how to read people, how to be in situations.

My name is Joel Zola and I’m the founder of the Street Voices Movement.

Street Voices started off as an idea when I was living at Eva’s Phoenix, which is a youth shelter located downtown. Basically, the idea was “I’m an artist, my friends are artists, but we don’t have a platform to get our voice out, plus mainstream media didn’t reflect our stories and our voice.” So we decided that since there wasn’t a mainstream platform out there for us, we would create our own platform.

I’ve benefited from the AVNU programs very highly because all those things, from event planning to the funder speed dating, are all the things I do right now. Those are all relevant to me because I was writing grants and…you know we have three events a year and our next one is in August. Basically, we have performers, we have food, and best of all we have the latest issue of Street Voices magazine.

Long story short, I think collaboration is everything. If you want to succeed in life you need to learn how to collaborate and when we look at stars or big people we focus on that one person but what we forget to realize is that one person has an entire team and without that team that one person would not be able to do what they do.

I find myself, a lot of times, that I’m the only person in the room without a high school diploma and I’m proud of it. I feel like I’m basically part of the SKETCH team and I’ve build my own organization and gotten funding and made sales and I learned all of this with no business degree, with no education. I learned all on the go, through trial and error, and we are going to be bigger and better and we did it with no high school diploma.

For those of you who don’t know Street Voices is a magazine that is distributed for free at different community centres across the city and we sell the other half online at or you can just talk to me. They’re five(5) dollars. We have new merchandise and we are gonna be launching new merch and a new issue of the magazine this August. It’s gonna be at Evergreen again – shout out to Evergreen Young Street Mission they’ve hooked us up with the space. So, StreetVoicesTO, it’s the same thing on instagram, on Facebook, on twitter. Besides the fact that we’re gonna have a launch event and gonna be promoting a bunch of other artists a part of our network as well doing wonderful and amazing things so make sure you guys stay in the loop for that. You know, shout outs to Fonna from AVNU, you know. We appreciate the look, it’s a good look – don’t edit this out, I want you to put this in the video.
Yeah so, it’s Street Voices. If you’re not part of the movement, be a part.