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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Gifts of Light brings clients together through drum making

Walking through the halls of CAMH this summer had a rhythm of its own - the deep booming of drums and an abundance of laughter.

The Gifts of Light program partnered with Vibe Arts to bring “Beat of Your Own Drum (BYOD)” to the hospital, an incredibly unique drum making and education workshop. It brought clients together to build and learn how to play Djembe drums.

Drum master Saikou demonstrates how to play in a video by Gifts of Light.


Clients met with drum master Saikou over three consecutive weeks, for nine days total, to complete their projects. From choosing symbols from Ghana to draw onto the body of the drum, sanding, waxing and prepping it for its intricate tuning process, the clients were hands-on throughout the entire experience.


“Each class the clients started to gain a new sense of confidence about not only the drum making process, but their identity within the group. Friendships were developing, and our clients began sharing stories, skills and compliments with one another,” says Quinn Kirby, Gifts of Light program director.

Cori, an outpatient from Concurrent Addictions Inpatient Treatment Service (CAITS), participated in the program and donated her finished drum back to CAITS. She mentioned how impactful it can be to come together with staff and volunteers and learn a skill that supports clients during their recovery.

“It gives your life meaning to be able to learn new things,” Cori said. “I’m hoping the drum gives them inspiration, I hope it gives them hope.”

Saikou and Vibe Arts will return to CAMH in September to provide ongoing drumming classes to both clients and staff, funded through the Gifts of Light program. 

Click here to learn more about Gifts of Light click here.

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