Streetfront continues to astound us with their amazing youth.
As always SHLF is proud to partner with Streetfront to provide disadvantaged kids with life-changing opportunities . As their only funding partner, SHLF funds all their core and extra-curricular activities.
YOU help them to achieve this by helping fund 3 major camping trips and 20 adventure outings including hiking, kayaking, rock-climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, mountain biking, triathlon and marathon training as well as a Wild Play adventure day. Your support in 2012 also provided running shoes, entry fees, fees to participate in mainstream school sports teams, equipment and transportation. In 2013, 22 participants have completed the program.
In May 2013, 18 kids ran to the Vancouver Marathon -14 finished the full marathon and 4 the half. Mauricio Garcia came back to run his 4th marathon 12 years after his first!
Streetfront’s biggest challenge in 2013 was the admission of seven very high risk 13 year olds to the program. They all have alcohol & drug dependency issues and no home support. The teachers knew that the high-needs kids would alter the delivery of the program but felt they were in desperate need of they offer. Accordingly, the teachers spend a lot of time keeping track of them, searching for them under park benches & bringing them to school. Amazingly the other students have themselves reached out and acted as role models.
Additional developments that took place this year due to SHLF funders include an environmental stewardship program including a their own vegetable garden, homemade greenhouse, composting, transplanting and harvesting. They are presently painting murals on the portable and have also continued to include volunteering with local elementary schools to develop the students’ sense of empathy and responsibility.
Major achievements this year include an 85% attendance rate, 10 students that progressed from failing to 80% in the highest level math curriculum and 4 students re-entering mainstream highschool and headed to graduation.
A fantastic success story - student Raymond King who finished grade 10 and really wanted to go back to Van Tech for grade 11 & 12, with great concern by all. Raymond excelled, played on the basketball team, graduated with honours & received a basketball scholarship!
Three years ago, SHLF acted as a catalyst to bring a basketball league to a part of NDG that has never before had one. Partnering with 2 community centres in this under-served part of Montreal, SHLF helped launch the NDG Community Basketball League that has since grown from none to 7 to 11 to 17 teams in 2013/2013!
Thanks to SHLF donors specifically, 80 kids have benefited from regular homework help, coaching, practice and play. It has also given the youth additional opportunities to compete and develop friendships with other kids in the neighbourhood.
In September 2012 the community received funding from the Quebec Ministry to run sports teams under the condition that a percentage be spent on girls’ programming. While fantastic for girls, this ultimately created a situation where there was only one boys’ basketball team per academic grade in a school with 1,800 students. The teams became very exclusive and only open to youth who played at a very high level and who also had strong marks.
Loyola Community Centre worked with the school to supplement their shortage and target youth who didn’t outright qualify for the school teams – they were having more difficulty at school or were not as strong at basketball. Teens were encouraged to come before their practices and study together, creating an informal peer tutoring system that among 10 youth to improve both their academic and basketball skills. The results have shown in both areas!
SHLF donors have funded facilities, coaching, equipment and referees for over 76 kids aged 7-17 in the NDG neighbourhood including 3 teams at the Loyola Community Center and 2 teams at Westhaven Community Center. Other activities funded by SHLF donors have included meeting the Concordia Stingers basketball team about the importance of studying as well as a half-day clinic for all teams in the league that included skills workshops with experienced coaches and players and injury prevention and healthy eating lessons.
SHLF donors provide 3 fall excursions for Take a Hike youth. This year, these included a 3 day hiking expedition to Tenquille Lake Hut, 3 day kayaking expedition to Granite Falls and 10 day canoe expedition to the Bowron Lakes.
All 44 students involved in the TAH programme spend half their time in the classroom and the other half outdoors. The multi-day expeditions are crucial in providing youth with the life skills to succeed in and out of the classroom. A Life Skills Test is administered at the beginning and end of every school year. Once again, students have demonstrated measurable improvement in self-esteem, communication, conflict resolution and social skills, connection to school and ability to manage stress.
Some specific outcomes of the multi-day expeditions include:
ADDICTIONS: Multi-day expeditions have a significant impact on drug, tobacco and alcohol use as these substances are banned on the trips, forcing students with dependency issues to become aware and deal with their addictions.
FAMILY: “Take a Hike is like to a family to me.” We hear this every year, and the expeditions are the main reason the students and staff feel so connected to one another. TAH strives to create a safe and stable environment where they are given the opportunity to learn and grow.
GRADUATION: The goal end result is that youth gain the life skills required to complete their high school diploma and build positive and productive lives after being in the program.
Note from a recent graduate:
"I am in the middle of my first semester and things are going very well. I just checked my results of my psychology mid term exam, and I have received the TOP score out of the entire class! 90% or an A+! I am pretty proud of myself. I am up to date with all of my school work, and even got an A- on my kinesiology mid term as well. Anyway I should stop going on about it "
Congratulations to all this year’s graduates.- we look forward to your continued success!
While our friends at BBBB prepare for another successful summer programme in 2013, they continue to observe positive changes in the boys’ behaviour throughout the school year. The need for the unique summer programme arose after teachers noted some boys’ struggling to re-adapt to the scholastic programme after summers. In addition to trying to prepare the kids for re-entry in the Fall, one of the objectives of the summer programme is to foster supportive peer relationships to last throughout the year. Throughout the school, pairs of boys of different ages can be seen meeting up at recess or lunch time for a high five or a chat – it is working!
Teachers at all grade levels have noted improved behaviour and academic results on behalf of camp participants. Less behavioural incidents have been reported to school administrators throughout the year and teachers have noted active participation in activities concerning reading.
The boys will be back again this summer, with older boys returning as ‘Counselors in Training’ to develop leadership and empathy. They will support the efforts of the younger kids and be given leadership opportunities.
We look forward to another great summer this year and are proud to see the long-term results of this amazing programme!