A new beginning right in the neighbourhood
Fortunately for Nuhaa, a neighbour told her mom about a United Way’s School’s Out Program, which provides after-school programming for new Canadian and refugee children who – while still being typical kids – are often behind in their schooling.
The program, which runs from September to June, helps kids build lasting friendships, connections to their community and teaches helpful life skills. They also receive nutritious meals and snacks. With the support of mentors like Sam, a former program participant, they are getting the support they need to build the connections and skills that will help them grow up to become successful and engaged community members.
“We want kids to feel comfortable in speaking English and being able to write because that’s where every subject starts. And being able to excel in a subject means being comfortable with speaking English and reading and writing,” says Jamie Kopp, Programs Manager.
“We want to talk about things like emotions and how to express yourself. We do a check-in so kids can feel okay to share…where they may not get an opportunity to do that at school or at home with their family,” says Jamie. “That one-on-one attention is invaluable for a child to know that they matter, that they are important.”
And it works.
“Nuhaa likes to come here and to play with other kids. She has a lot of fun and she learns a lot of important information,” Frial says.
“This program will make you feel better because everyone is kind,” Nuhaa says.
Nuhaa is lucky to have people like Sam and a program that cares about her. Not enough kids have the after-school programs and other supports they need. Almost one in 10 Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley kids doesn’t think a single adult cares about them.