The last few months have seen a shift in Streetfront’s outdoor schedule now that the marathon is behind them. They’ve had four canoe day trips so far (Jug Island, Twin Island, Buntzen Lake, and False Creek) as well as some day hikes and trail runs. Their Spring season culminated in a multi-day trip touring Indian Arm using Twin Island as their central location.
There has also been extra emphasis on academics this last term as students prepared for final exams.
In addition, the Streetfront garden was visited by Squamish educator, Dustin Brown. He taught the students about local history and aboriginal traditions helping them to choose an appropriate traditional name for their garden. The exercise in naming the garden was one that many students found profound and moving. The garden is now called Nexways wa lhayenexw Garden which translates to “Transformed Life.”
The garden naming was followed by an official naming ceremony which elders from the surrounding Nations attended. Streetfront students were involved in every aspect of the ceremony which wrapped up with a smoked salmon and bannock feast. Dignitaries from Vancouver were present and laid witness to a truly remarkable event.
Streetfront’s school year ended with some fun group field trips. They completed a high ropes activity course in Maple Ridge called Wildplay. There they found the 75 foot zip lines and dangling rope swings exhilarating. Their final wrap-up day was spent at Spanish Banks skim boarding, swimming, and playing volleyball. It was a great way to end the year.
Streetfront has also been featured in the local media recently with an article and video in The Province, a story on Global TV, and the Globe and Mail featured Streetfront as one of four programs across Canada who are redefining what a “healthy student” really is. Trevor says this recent attention is “pretty amazing for a little school from the Downtown Eastside.”
Take a Hike
Seven students graduated from the Take a Hike program this year. Take a Hike is proud of their graduates and their 100% graduation rate says a lot about the effectiveness of the program. Five Take a Hike students and alumni were awarded with scholarships at their year-end awards barbeque. These scholarships will be supporting post-secondary plans in plumbing, general studies, early childhood education, first nations’ education and criminology.
This May’s year-end expeditions took students to Johnstone Straight and Desolation Sound. Students and staff reported back that these two trips were the best yet. Many students on the trips took part in a “challenge by choice” where they either took part in a kayak rescue or extended their five hour solo experience to an overnight solo.
Take A Hike has put together a new video that highlights what the program is all about. It can be found at http://www.youtube.com/takeahikefoundation.
BazStrong closed out their year successfully, with 23 studentswho teachers believed had the potential to be successful, but could fall through the cracks without the extra support offered by the program. Initially, Baz Strong was targeting Grade 8&9 students only, but they decided to add two grade 7 students who have been great additions to the program. Also, following the pilot project last year, the teachers felt it would be valuable to add a couple student athletes who could serve as role models for the other students in the program. Adding the model students to the program has helped increase attendance, morale, and motivation for participants.
“Teal Arnot is a great success story of this program. She likes to wear a t-shirt that has the saying, ‘Lazy but Talented’ and I don’t know that there is a person better described by that then her. In grade 7 and 8 the only school team she participated in was track and field. Even then it took a lot of support from her teachers and coaches to keep her motivated. The principal still always jokes how she walked the last 100m of a 300m race one year, because “she was losing anyway”. She started with Baz Strong in October. Not only has Teal changed physically but her whole outlook on life and herself has changed drastically. She participated in the wrestling team, winning first place in her weight category and bringing home the title to the school. She tried out for the basketball team and when she did not make the team she committed herself to the whole season as the team manager, staying at every practice and keeping stats at every game. She is now on the badminton and track teams and track. She has changed the group of friends she spends time with from other students that were lacking motivation to student athletes.“ -Ashley Clark, Teacher at Ian Bazalgette.
Loyola Community Centre
The basketball programs at Loyola and Westhaven are made entiruely possible by SHLF. They are non-competitive programs and aim to teach the participants the fundamental values of commitment and teamwork. Participants learn to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and respect each other’s abilities. In an attempt to strengthen the relationships between the children on the team, and their families, they went on outings this year to Stingers and Harlem Globetrotters game. The teens were also visited by a basketball player who is now playing at a college in the USA, who explained to them that the route to a professional basketball career can only be accessed through universities, and spoke to them about the importance of staying in school
Due to SHLF, 51 children participated in the Loyola programme with 85% attendance and 15 in the Westhaven programme with over 80% attendace. The original programme planned on 24 weeks, but they are keeping them going for 30 instead because the youth were enjoying it so much and working so hard. The season ended with a highly successful May tournament!
Bouncing Boys Back to Books
The staff and students of Bouncing Boys Back to Books are ramping up for another successful summer program. The year has closed at Westmount school and the students have been invited to participate and peer leaders selected. Teachers continue to see improvements of participants throughout the school year with respect to both academics and peer relationships. Teachers will be preparing throughout the early summer until the kids arrive in August!