The sunny weather reminds us that the school year is drawing to an end, and with that out thoughts turn to planning for next years’ group of students. Will we be able to create the same magic we have created this year? How will we fund this magic, year after year?
Our answer lies with our Heroes; those people and organizations who have supported us every year with donations big and small. They are reason we are able to make the magic that is Homework Club – and we mean magic. Where else would you find a group of 40 or more high school students happily engaged in doing homework, three nights a week? Where else would students from all age groups, grades and ability levels come together as a single group, united in a common purpose? You remember high school – this just doesn’t happen! Where else would 18 formerly failing, completely disengaged students be found night after night, plotting their path from failure to high school graduation, and post-secondary education? Magic is the only way to describe it, and heroes are the only way to get it done!
Would you like to be a Homework Club Hero? A monthly donation of $25 is all it takes. Your contribution, joined with the contribution of 333 other heroes, will make certain that we are able to provide our own special brand of magic, year after year, to the students we serve and who so richly deserve it!
We’re just back from our third annual YEP! Spring Break retreat. The Youth Engagement Project – or YEP! to us – provides social/emotional, academic and financial support to seriously at-risk students in the inner-city. Often these students have had precarious relationships with schools and schooling, having fallen through the many cracks in the current education system, and they have struggled to find a way back in.
What we offer is support in finding their way back in, and more importantly, in staying in. We create strong, healthy relationships with the students and their families, and work to develop a culture of achievement in the face of obstacles. Students commit to attending all of their classes, as well as Homework Club in the afternoons, and we commit to support their success by providing tutors for their academic needs, youth workers who understand their problems, opportunities to mentor and be mentored, and of course, our annual YEP! camp during Spring Break.
This is our third year at it, and the results are dramatic. The first year, students were reluctant to attend. Many had never been out of the inner-city, and were fearful of what the experience might be. The week after our first trip, they were already asking if we would go again next year. This year, in September, the “old-timers” were filling the heads of the “newbies” with stories from camp, and the anticipation was high. We had nearly 100% attendance.
Students spent three days hiking, fishing, hot-tubbing, geocaching and hanging out with friends on the banks of the beautiful Chilliwack River. It is a chance to recharge after two terms of school, and to make plans for how to conquer the third. It is a chance to learn chess for the first time, or finally figure out latitude and longitude, to eat healthy meals, to unplug from technology, to build their first campfire. To be kids on a sunny day in the woods
For us the experience is moving every time. We see the students soften and relax as they make meals together, sharing themselves along with their favourite dishes. We see them collaborate on chores, or in games, and learn more and more of their histories, their lives, and their strengths. They are resilient group and we are always in awe.