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Welcome to

Nurturing resilience through artistic practice.

About Us

Strength Within delivers accessible, affordable community arts programs, of an educational and healing nature, to people marginalized by age, disability, illness or low income. Founded by local musician Patrick Smith in 2004, in cooperation with the BC Children's Hospital, it was initially a program of music, theatre, dance and videogaphy for teenage survivors of childhood cancer. Now Strength Within, in collaboration with James Bay New Horizons and The Victoria Arts Council, provides 4 programs throughout the CRD on South Vancouver Island, involving music, dance, and creative writing. Read more about us here. 

Meet Patrick Smith

Founder, Musician, Artistic Director

Patrick has been a musician his whole life, playing half a dozen different instruments, in many ensembles over the years. He was one of the founders of the Ptarmigan Music Society in 1991, bringing it from the mainland to Pender Island in 1998. In 2004, he created Strength Within under the Ptarmigan umbrella, in cooperation with BC Children's Hospital as a program of music, theatre, and dance for teenage survivors of cancer. Patrick took his innate understanding of the healing power of art and community, and filled a need for an arts program for kids with all manner of serious illnesses. Over time, this has extended to any marginalized or isolated group, and retains the same message: arts programs provide opportunities for learning, self-expression, mental stimulation, joy, socialization, and improved physical and emotional health for all involved.



Strength Within was a powerful and very meaningful experience for everyone involved.

Dan Mornar

patient/parent advocate

BC Children's Hospital

The program was meaningful because it allowed me to reconnect with my fellow survivors ... and new friends, as well as learn new artistic ways I could express myself.

Aaron Gagan, Chair: Childhood Cancer Survivors Society of BC

The program was meaningful because of how it brought members of the group together, brought out each member's skills & talents, and my own confidence through music.

Olivia Korompis, 2005

I was fortunate to be in the first Strength Within finale. Heartwarming, funny, touching, powerful and freeing.

Heather Burnett, BC Regional Coordinator, Starlight Children's Foundation.

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