Crew members

ReFreshed Crew members are experienced professional Artists, Arts Mentors, community leaders and youth workers from diverse backgrounds. We are a Crew that comes together for a common goal, fuelled by a shared passion to see people break through and rise to their full potential.

ReFreshed Crew members have the basic essentials that align with our values – positive attitudes, strong character and expertise in the various urban art forms that we teach. Whether it be Breaking and dance, Emceeing/poetry, music and beat making, Graffiti and visual arts, media and production or experiencing Hip-Hop culture as a supporter and lover, our team members must be passionate about their art and impact on the world.

Another key element of a ReFreshed Crew member is the ability to truly embody our values in understanding the need for an uplifting and accepting environment for our students while we help them grow to love themselves, each other, and Hip-Hop culture the way we do.

ReFreshed Crew is proud to offer volunteer positions to some of our long-term youth participants to help them further develop leadership skills. We find that these youth truly embody the values and mission of ReFreshed and are an essential part of our team, while we work to help all youth feel welcomed and valued.

Nathan Lenet

Founder and Executive Director

Nathan comes from an arts and performance background and has been an artist since he was a toddler. In his pre-teens, Nathan was drawn to the culture of Hip Hop, one of the art forms now pivotal to the ReFreshed project. Rap music was a way for him to find his voice and he began performing and writing in his teens. He has continued practiced his art as a Hip Hop emcee and spoken word artist, locally and internally for two decades.

His devotion to supporting positive change in Canada’s Indigenous population began when he was 20 years old, working in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. He learned first-hand about Indigenous life and culture and the social issues communities like Cape Dorset face in Canada. Through hosting a local radio show and building friendships, he shared his love of the Hip Hop art form and culture with the community. Upon his return home to Calgary, Nathan knew that the tragedies of Cape Dorset were not isolated. Over the years, Nathan has lost many friends to suicide, addiction and death.

Unable to sit by and watch these injustices unfold, Nathan made the decision to dedicate himself to making a difference in the lives of marginalized and Indigenous youth. He pursued formal education in Cultural Anthropology and Psychology at the University of Calgary. Upon graduating, he spent a summer in Cape Town South Africa, mentoring young artists at a school for at-risk youth.

While in South Africa, Nathan became aware that the same social divides existed in Canada among Indigenous and marginalized youth as they did for younger South Africans. The South African approach to social change through the arts sparked Nathan’s vision for The Freed Artist Society – a not-for-profit organization that positively impacted the lives of marginalized youth through arts-based empowerment programs.

Mark “Egypt” Gendy

Music Producer

As an experienced beat-maker, Mark celebrates the beauty in music and hip-hop. In his words: the beats set the mood of a song, the MCs bring a story to life, the dancers embody the visual expression of the track and the artists use graffiti to create the environment: together they can create a world of infinite possibilities. Born and raised in Egypt, Marks passion for music led him to open for acts like Nelly, The Chainsmokers, Akon and Classified. Mark’s favorite instruments to play are the piano and the drums. The amazingly talented team, the difference that they make in the youth’s lives and the chance to learn more about the Indigenous culture are what led him to join the crew.

Emy Ulloa

Emy Ulloa is a youth social worker and content creator for ReFreshed Crew. Born in Calgary, Emy’s family heritage has roots to the indigenous people of Chile, as well as, mixed European descent. Emy is passionate about the work ReFreshed Crew does with Indigenous youth and connects with many of the struggles that they face. As part of the Crew, Emy loves being able to create with the youth–whether it is art, music or motion. Emy is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work, but always leaves time for the things she loves: the outdoors, yoga and biking.

Like all of our Crew, Emy respects and values culture. She understands that children are our future, but elders can guide the way forward.

Shandi Ta

Dance Artist Mentor

Driven by culture, connection, and creativity, Shandi is the perfect match for ReFreshed. Shandi describes herself as a blonde-haired music enthusiast who lives a double life. She was driven to ReFreshed to build meaningful relationships with stellar people and feels most fulfilled through the mentor/mentee connection. Shandi works with ReFreshed’s youth to translate their stories through performing arts.

Louis William’s Ell Dubs Lazarush

Louis came to ReFreshed Crew to empower and work with First Nation communities. Since joining, he has loved working with the talented team, using art as an anchor to uplift at-risk youth. Louis’s passion for art is rooted in storytelling and music, stating that everyone should “live a life story that God and the Devil would read.” The dynamics at ReFreshed Crew inspire him to push his own art forward and help others express their life story. He believes in hard work, perseverance, and wonder, living by the words “you can sleep when you’re dead.”

Zoe Slusar – Zhee the Free

Emcee Artist Educator

Zhee first discovered the ReFreshed Crew when she came to University and was able to reignite her connections to the Indigenous community and ceremony. After volunteering for one session, she was fully committed to being part of the program. As a member of the ReFreshed Crew, she most enjoys the opportunity to be able to share her love of emcee with the youth that inspires her to do more with musical expression. Zhee is so appreciative of the community that builds throughout the semester of ReFreshed Crew and is enthusiastic about sharing the art that has pushed her forward in life. Growing up, Zhee felt socially alone and hip hop was one of the most prominent elements that helped her connect to people. Through any of the major struggles she experienced, music has always been there as a way to help process pain, stress, and frustration. Zhee considers herself lucky to have traveled to every continent and being able to explore the world. Fun fact: her first time behind a microphone was when she began doing cartoon voiceovers at the age of 11!

Katie Dick

Artist Educator

Katie fell in love with the power of words as an art form. She feels as though hip-hop brings a sense of realness and rawness to those who observe it. Katie began working with ReFreshed in July 2018 and hasn’t looked back since. She loves the personal connections that she gets to make with the youth she works with and enjoys being surrounded with like-minded people. Katie is constantly driven by the talented and dedicated workers and youth that are also a part of ReFreshed. Katie works to incorporate art into any, and all aspects of her life. This includes watching, creating and writing art. Katie refers to art as, “finding her superpower, and learning how to own it.” Once she accepted that art was her calling she found that it appeared in everything that she was doing. She enjoys practicing tradition and her spirituality, as well as showing people how scary, but beautiful the world we live in is. Katie believes the success of ReFreshed stems from their unity.

Bryce “Gremlyn” Plante

Youth Worker/Artist Educator

Teaching and sharing his creativity are Bryce’s passions. With his debut album “Isaac” and as the owner of Prove Music & DJ Services, Bryce has a lot to pass on to the youth of ReFreshed Crew. Hip-hop’s rich history, that started small and that grew to redefine popular culture around the world, is what drew Bryce to Hip-Hop in the first place. Bryce is seen as big and intimidating but wants you to know that he is really just a big softy. The best way to get to know Bryce is ask him about Marvel Movies or the MCU.

Wayne To aka Wayne Wonder

Youth Worker

As ReFreshed Crew’s film and videographer, Wayne is in charge of capturing the moments that matter, sharing the work of ReFreshed Crew and the art that the youth create with the world. Wayne’s love for hip-hop and what it stands for is what led him to join our Crew. With a shared vision for the future, Wayne, like ReFreshed Crew, values the opportunity to connect with youth to help support and inspire them through their journey of life. Known as the King of Karaoke, Wayne is no stranger to the spotlight: he is an aspiring comedian and has his own podcast–4play.

Rommel “Rascal” Labrado

Rommel who is known by the name of “Rascal” is a hip-hop dancer with ReFreshed Crew. Rascal fell in love with hip-hop culture because of its empowering and liberating qualities. His main goal is to be an advocate for the ways that hip-hop can help to steer you in all directions of life. Joining ReFreshed Crew felt like a natural fit for Rascal as he felt they held and practiced the same beliefs as his own. Rascal is constantly amazed by the talent, energy, and love that ReFreshed brings to his life. If he could offer one piece of advice to anyone it would be to, “always move with purpose.” Aside from spending his time with ReFreshed, Rascal loves the movie Interstellar and his favorite musical instrument is the saxophone.

Sebastian Patterson

Dance Artist Educator

Sebastian was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He has been training in art, athleticism and breaking culture since 2012. His passion for dance led him to compete at breakdancing events across North America. Sebastian was inspired by the ReFreshed movement and their shared love of hip hop. He joined the crew to connect with other dancers and to inspire youth to share their stories through their unique creative abilities.

Sally Njoroge – Okast

Okast fell in love with the ReFreshed Crew’s dope community lifestyle the moment she walked in the door. As a spoken word mentor, Okast helps youth find their truth and watches their creativity grow. She is constantly learning from her peers and is honored to work with like-minded people making a difference in the community. She started poetry and spoken word through Def Jam Poetry, inspired by artists like Lauryn Hill. Okast’s art has since been driven by the freedom of expression, stating that it is “the root that grows to bear fruits of understanding, empathy, and connection. That is moves people forward on individual and collective journeys.” Along with her spoken word background, Okast is also a medium-key DJ and a low-key joker. Working with ReFreshed Crew allows her to share her truth and support others on their own journey. She lives each day by the motto: Art saves lives.

FRIENDS + SUPPORTERS

We thank our donors and funders, who provide not only key financial support to sustain our work, but who also attest to our accountability and stewardship of the funds entrusted to us.