Success Story - Edmonds Community School
Not too long ago, the end of the school day meant going home to an empty apartment for too many students at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby. There were some after-school programs available, but not enough to meet local needs in a neighbourhood where many families are led by (single) lone parents, and many parents find it challenging to balance work and family life.
“There was a real lack of affordable and accessible opportunities for children,” says community school coordinator Doreen George. And so, about two years ago, Doreen and her colleagues began to seek out partners to expand their services.
Edmonds already offered a wide range of programs for the community, from public health to counseling to specialized supports for immigrants. But Doreen says the need to do more was clear.
“Our next step was to bring all partners to the table to determine how best to work together and to share resources.”
Today, the number of spaces offered in after-school programs has increased four-fold, and children can choose from a range of opportunities.
“We offer physical, social, visual and performing arts options in a fun, safe environment with good youth and adult role models. After-school programs are low or no cost to all. Children have choice. And both the parents and the children are happy.”
Teachers are noticing a difference and are supportive of the fact that the opportunity for homework help is available, too. Doreen says they “frequently report that the children are excited and can hardly wait for the after-school program.”
Her favourite story is of one young student who “learned the days of the week and how to tell time so that he could determine if it was a MoreSports day and how long he had to wait before it started.”
The key to success, Doreen says, is “to ensure we all work together, share our resources and offer programming that kids want.”