5 min read
02 June 2023

Teen Paparazzi: How Young Photographers Captured the Glitz and Glamour of the UNMET Gala

Jennifer Mayville, Senior Manager, Communications

On May 4, some of the most influential leaders and philanthropists in Toronto attended the first-ever UNMET Gala in support of WoodGreen. And some young photographers had a chance to document the event and be part of the action firsthand.

The youth (who are clients of WoodGreen’s various youth programs) along with their teacher, Toronto-based photographer Joseph Michael Howarth, snapped shots of the various gala attendees in their glamourous fashions on the red carpet. Additional support came from The Magenta Foundation, which provided the cameras and additional event day support from one of their teachers, Nyaomi.

“WoodGreen strongly believes in providing youth in Toronto the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. Youth in this program participated in skills training, then put their skills to use in a real-world situation,” said Kathy Koch, WoodGreen’s Vice President of Development. “They had an opportunity to build their portfolio and make new friends in the process.”

UNMET Gala raised $1.5 million for WoodGreen while celebrating diversity


The gala, which raised an incredible $1.5 million in support of WoodGreen, celebrated Toronto’s diversity with the theme Come As You Are. It also honoured WoodGreen's efforts to meet people where they are and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

The photographers said they enjoyed capturing the event and seeing all the action live at the Royal Ontario Museum.

“The experience as a volunteer photographer for the gala was incredibly fulfilling,” said Kidus Costa. “It was heartwarming to witness people coming together for a common purpose. I felt privileged to be part of the team capturing those moments of joy, compassion, and celebration.”

“Taking the street photos was one of my favourite moments. Another was all the brainstorming and testing cameras beforehand,” added fellow photographer Al-Hamin Animashaun. “I would love to do more photography, primarily to improve on my skills.”

Youth photographer says the experience was “educational and enjoyable”


The event gave the shutterbugs no shortage of inspiration for photos. Inspired by the heritage of the gala co-chairs, Krystal Koo and Fernanda Dovigi, the gala was a vibrant fusion of Chinese and Brazilian cultures, adorned in feathers, fiery colours, and jewels.

“Some of my favourite moments were seeing people dressed in extravagant clothing,” said Sahran Sultan, another photographer. “The experience was educational and enjoyable. I had fun and, overall, I believe it had a positive impact on me.”

Special thank you to Scotiabank for helping to make this possible as our UNMET Gala Entry Sponsor.

Through the UNMET Needs Campaign, WoodGreen will continue to develop programs that help ensure youth are well-supported with access to exciting opportunities like this.

Check out some of the images captured by the young photographers below!







More Blogs

Reflections from the Rites of Passage “Journey of Oneness”

Last fall, 11 alumni of WoodGreen's Idagba Rites of Passage program embarked on a transformative journey to Tanzania for an immersive cultural exchange gave graduates. Find out more about their experience.


Is there a better (and cheaper) way to care for aging seniors? WoodGreen thinks there is

A unique approach to assisted care is adding to the quality of life of seniors while reducing pressure on hospitals, all for a fraction of the cost of traditional care models.


WoodGreen answers increased demand for newcomer mental health counselling

Many newcomers face unique and complex mental health challenges. WoodGreen's counsellors are ideally placed to help.


Navigating the Next Chapter: Job Search Strategies Post-Layoff

Getting laid off can be tough. Our experts share their job search strategies for navigating life post-layoff to help land you land your next job with confidence.


WoodGreen’s Tax Clinic gives volunteers a maximum return on investment

WoodGreen’s free income tax investment clinic helps people hold on to every penny they can, while not costing them a dime. But with increasing demand, more volunteers are needed to ensure that everyone who needs help this year will get it.