Urgent funding needed to keep YMCA Beyond the Bell ringing strong
Contributed/YMCA of the Okanagan
Image Credit: YMCA Okanagan
November 08, 2016 - 2:05 PM
When the gap is wide, children can fall through the cracks…
The gap between rich and poor is greater than most Canadians realize and in the Okanagan-Similkameen, the child poverty rate is 22.5 per cent — higher than BC’s rate of 20.4 per cent. Living in poverty is linked to an increase in health-related issues in kids, including poor nutrition, obesity, behavioural and emotional problems, and low academic achievement.
Research shows, as early as kindergarten, children from low income backgrounds are already at a six month academic disadvantage compared with children from middle income families. This gap continues to widen each year and ultimately affects their future academic and career opportunities as well as their overall health. This is what researchers call the achievement gap.
Donors have enabled the YMCA of Okanagan to respond by offering a free community based academic enrichment program called Beyond the Bell to identified vulnerable students. These children at George Pringle Elementary School are provided with the additional homework help they need to keep pace with their grade level and peers. This program is set apart from any other after-school education program by its focus on health and social development, its measurable outcomes, and its 1 to 5 ratio of educators to children.
97 per cent of teachers indicate the program is helping motivate participating students to learn.
86.6 per cent of children attending the YMCA Beyond the Bell program during the 2015/2016 school year improved in reading by at least one grade level.
90 per cent of participants are taking more pride in their school work.
Currently, there is only enough funding to keep the YMCA Beyond the Bell program operational until the end of the 2017 school year. The YMCA of Okanagan needs your support to ensure seamless continuation of this life-changing program and to stop children from falling through the cracks.
The annual cost per child to attend YMCA Beyond the Bell is $2,000. The tangible societal costs per high school dropout are estimated at $10,782.
Make a donation online, or call Rhonda Zakala at 250-491-9622 ext. 304 for more information.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016