Chance Mutuku was well on his way to achieving a successful career as a wrestler.
Within five years of the loss of his father and a life-changing move to Canada from the tumultuous and violent Democratic Republic of the Congo, he had earned himself a coveted spot on the Canadian Junior National Wrestling Team and a scholarship to wrestle at Brock.
Then, a severe concussion he suffered during a training camp two years ago halted his athletic career and forced him to reevaluate everything.
“At the time, I didn’t clue in to how life-changing that moment was going to be,” he recalled. “It was supposed to take a few days to get back into training, but the days turned to weeks, weeks to months and now, here we are two years later — and I am still in recovery.”
Not one to shy away from adversity, Mutuku shifted gears, instead connecting his passion for the arts with his entrepreneurial spirit to engage in new projects that both aided in his recovery and set him on a new course.
At an upcoming lecture at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) on Wednesday, Jan. 16, he will share his inspiring story of perseverance and explore ways of bringing people from all disciplines together to promote mental wellness, enact positive change and find professional success.
This marks the second event in the newly launched MIWSFPA Wellness Series, which offers monthly events that promote creative ways to help ease stress and promote mental well-being.
Visual Arts Associate Professors Amy Friend and Derek Knight will also add to the discussion, and Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris will lead students in an interactive exercise about the ups and downs of student life.
BioLinc and local community partners will also share career and volunteer opportunities in the arts and the health and wellness sector, and members of Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Services will be on hand to discuss services they can provide to students.
The event will conclude with a free lunch from Mahtay Café.
Mutuku hopes the lecture will inspire students to find creative ways of healing and to think about how to apply their skills and interests in new and innovative ways.
“I can’t say enough how amazing my experience was learning from all of these people around me, and I encourage everyone to get involved in the arts, because it connects us all and we can all benefit from it,” said Mutuku. “These projects I have been working on show me that there needs to be more collaborations between disciplines and we need to start coming together and learning from each other to bring new and great collaborative ideas to life.”
The event will take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The event is free, but registration is required at miwsfpa-wellness-series.eventbrite.ca. Brock students must also RSVP through ExperienceBU to receive credit for the Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum. A copy of your ticket and/or Brock card (if applicable) will be required at the door for admittance.
Students can take the STC Route 316/416 bus from main campus to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts stop, located near the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
There will be event staff stationed on Brock’s main campus and downtown to guide students to the School.
All students, staff and faculty are welcome.