"We coach the youth to be more accepting of others in a continual effort to bring about change. Differences of race, cultures, religion, physical abilities must be understood by all to allow for a deeper appreciation of all people."

Sharlene Thomas

Founded in Edmonton, Alberta in 2003 by Sharlene Thomas of Movements, the Getting Everyone Together Youth Festival (GETfest) is a social initiative representing freedom, truth, tenacity, and equality for all mankind on planet Earth.

It all began in 2001 with Sharlene, a motivational speaker going into schools spreading her empowering message of unity, equality, and anti-racism. She then invited celebrity speakers to join her at Junior and Senior High Schools over a one-week period during International Black History month. By sharing with the students, the rich cultural heritage of Black people they created a greater awareness of this International celebration in Edmonton’s schools.

Initially, classrooms were the venue used for these speaking events. It soon became apparent that GETfest required a larger forum with which to address the students and over the years, it has expanded from classroom speaking engagements to gathering students together in gymnasiums, and now today, to conference facilities and for a two week period. Many of the schools in the community consider GETfest leadership conferences as “field trips” and have their students attend the conference facilities each year, while some of the other schools, which now include Elementary Schools, still have speakers come in. 

The conference-style events include celebrity speakers, break-out sessions, cultural performances and pep rallies. Sharlene Thomas continues to carry the momentum of Getting Everyone Together forward. To her delight, it has now expanded into Calgary and other communities across Alberta.