Streetfront - Seattle Marathon Success!

On November 26 2011, after months of training, 14 members of Streetfront (all under 17 years old) met in their portable at 5:30 am to begin the trip to the Seattle Marathon. Seattle is one of the keystone events of the year and one that SHLF is proud to fund. For many of these kids, it is their first trip away from home or out of Canada.

As a true testament to the spirit of this amazing program, 14 youth completed either the full or half marathons. In addition, each of them volunteered for 4 hours at the Marathon Expo on the day before the race!

On race day the Pacific Northwest showed its true colours with “rain, wind and more rain.: But the kids battled their way through and all of them finished (plus two staff)!

 “It was another amazing sight to have so many kids push themselves to their limit; fight through all types of adversity and self-doubt and weather. This is an incredible physical and emotional journey that these kids face running marathons,” said teacher Trevor Stokes.

In the classroom, the kids (all Grade 8-10) continue to exceed expectations. The tragedy that has befallen Attawapiskat really shocked the students and led to a full exploration of the issues. Topics ranged from the “ghettoization of Reserves” to financial management to “exponential growth” and population trends.

Additionally, as has become tradition, a full Streetfront compliment turned out to the Annual Strachan Hartley 5k Legacy Run to run and help out. The runners truly appreciated their stories and, as usual, they were tough to beat!

Congratulations to the following Seattle Finishers:

Half Marathoners:

Willy Dugray (age 16)
Lukas Bezanson (15)
Eriana Morales (15)
Sebastian Austin (13)
Jayde Becke (15)

Full Marathoners

Matt Morin (15)
Joe Malley (15)
Vaughn Mills (17)
Kyle Leo (16)
William Vu (17)
Shwana Bestoun (15)
Frankie Joseph (16)
Jordan Braun (14)
Raymond King (16)

Once again the Streetfront students have shown the world that regardless your circumstance – people rise to the standards that have been set for them. 

Baz Strong finishes Strong - 1st term ever under wraps!

Finishing up the first term ever, BAZStrong has 21 committed students that participate in the special Friday afternoon sports and homework school sponsored by SHLF. The academic portion is going well, with all indicators showing that the students are improving and showing higher engagement in their coursework.

"Our first report cards look very good for the Baz Strong kids...very, very few kids failing a course. I spoke with every Baz Strong student about their report card on Friday. We believe that the extra time and support is working. We have also completed two fitness tests and most of our kids are playing on school teams" said Principal Kevin Tonak.

A definite weekly highlight for these students is the healthy nutritious food they receive while working academically. It's fabulous to see youth valuing and understanding the importance of healthy fuel to give them the energy to learn and grow.   

The BazStrong gear is worn with pride each Friday and the students have used these outfits as a unifying tie that is transferring to building community in the school population. Other students are asking how they can earn the privilege to be a part of this very special program.  
Students have enjoyed both in-house athletic training and trips such as going to Bob Bahan Pool for a deep water workout which was really good and really fun for the kids!  They recently went to an amazing facility called STRIVE training where they saw strongmen and MMA guys training.  The students learned about Olympic lifting, strength training,and had an opportunity to experience that challenging type of a workout!

BazStrong has also begun to give back to the local community which is a true SHLF value in action! They hosted elementary students from a nearby school and ran a free basketball clinic. 

Loyola-Westmount Basketball League growing quickly!

Thanks to SHLF supporters, kids in the NDG area of Montreal have teams and leagues in their very own neighbourhood for the first time ever.

Practices for the Fall basketball teams and league started in mid-September. SHLF supports two children's teams and one teen team at the Loyola Community Centre, and one children's team at the Westhaven Community Centre, as well as the league they all participate in. In just the second year, the three childrens' groups are operating at full capacity, with between 50 and 60 kids coming to practice every week!  The teen group is smaller and struggles to have consistent turnout but little by little the group is showing more dedication and promise.

The league is underway and participants are playing weekly games.  The kids are having a lot of fun and are becoming more confident on the court as each week goes by.

 The fall season ended on December 11th, and league games will start again in January with games happening weekly. The league will culminate with a tournament with all of the teams during the first weekend of May. 

Bouncing Boys Back to Books - Back at School

All participants of the summer literacy and basketball program returned to school for the fall term and have shown great progress in the classroom.

The summer program was initiated because teachers had noted that many of the ‘at –risk’ children struggled to adapt when returning to school after summer holidays.  The program was designed to give these boys special attention and help prepare them for re-entry into school.  This year, the teachers are happy to report that the participating boys had a successful entry to school and doing well in school. They have noticed less behavioral problems and more positive attitudes towards school from the BBBtB boys. Teachers have also noted that the relationships formed with the participants and amongst the participants continue throughout the school year.

This year, unfortunately, there were four boys who participated in the BBBtB in the past and were selected but did not participate in BBBtB this summer. Their entry to school this year was very difficult in comparison to past years. This helped them reiterate the importance of the program and they will work to ensure these kids will be able to attend next summer.


Take a Hike - Kids helping out!

After the completion of their successful fall trips, sponsored by SHLF, five Take a Hike students woke up early to come and volunteer their time at the annual Strachan Hartley Legacy Run in North Vancouver, BC.  Students handed out water and Gatorade while others participated in the run. To a crowd of  500 people, two of their students shared their gruelling experience in the rain and snow on their recent expedition to the Chilcotins.

"On this camping trip I learned that when you wake up in the morning and it is freezing cold, you have to work at making food to eat and packing your equipment away.  You have to keep moving in order to keep warm and suffer for the good.  It is not easy, but it relates to life.  You need to keep working to support yourself no matter how uncomfortable the job is.  I have to keep pushing through all the text books and piles of homework to get somewhere in life. We sincerely thank SHLF for including us in this day, and supporting our fall expeditions for the last three years.”