September 24, 2015 - 8:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Almost 100 Kamloops kids would not eat breakfast every morning if it wasn’t for the local Boys and Girls Club.
This Friday, the club celebrates 60 years of programs in Kamloops, including the Power Start breakfast program.
The breakfast program provides children from Arthur Hatton, Bert Edwards, Kay Bingham and Stuart Wood elementary schools with a nutritious breakfast and recess snack and, with the exception of Stuart Wood, transportation to school every morning.
Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Traci Anderson says the program began in 2009 out of necessity.
“The principal at Arthur Hatton approached us. We were sharing information about our afterschool programs. She told us ‘we need a morning program’,” Anderson says, adding the principal expressed concern that a number of her students often came to school hungry.
Now three buses pick-up kids and transport them to their respective schools around 7 a.m. every day. The kids usually get to school by 8 a.m. and have half an hour to eat before the first morning bell rings at 8:30 a.m.
While most kids are excited to start their days, Anderson laughs that 'some kids crawl on the bus then fall asleep.'
Two staff members from the Boys and Girls Club drive buses and, with the exception of Arthur Hatton, cook as well. Urban Systems, an urban planning company, and Kamloops Rotary clubs provide both funding and volunteers for the program. Anderson says the Kamloops Food Bank donates all baked goods, items like English muffins, bagels and bread, to the Power Start program.
Each child in the program is referred in by their school. Students who are continuously late or missing class and, of course, coming to school hungry can become candidates.
While the program serves breakfast, Anderson says it also provides kids with a sense of belonging. The children bond with each other and they connect with caring adults as well.
“A lot of the kids feel a disconnect from school or they’re feeling a little isolated. We're not the school, it's kind of a cool thing to be part of (Power Start).”
The Boys and Girls Club will be celebrating their 60 Anniversary on Friday, Sept. 25. Anderson says the club will be hosting a barbeque at the John Tod Centre from 5 to 8 p.m.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015