, we once again had proof that we were making a difference. It’s a good feeling.
We asked Beth to talk about the important work done within the YWCA’s Youth Thrive program. Here’s what she had to say:
Why are programs that centre around academic success important to YWCA Moncton?
The academic success of the pre-teens and teens we work with is critical, because it will have a direct effect on their earning power and quality of life down the line, once they reach adulthood. It’s also tied into self-esteem: doing well in school is perceived as a measure of success. There is an element of shame associated with doing poorly in school. We want all our youth to face the world with strong self-esteem.
What is Youth Thrive?
The YWCA’s Youth Thrive program supports academic support for youth – both girls and boys – in the Moncton community. It involves two streams: Techno Tutoring and On My Way.
Can you explain each?
Techno Tutoring is for middle school girls and boys. Our paid tutors work twice a week with students in two schools who are chronically below grade level and really need extra support. Rogers funding also allowed us to purchase iPads, e-readers and LED tablets, all of which not only help learning, but also help remove the stigma that could otherwise have been associated with the program. Techno Tutoring sessions have become a place all students wish they could be. Finally, by entrusting these students, many of whom come from economically disadvantaged homes, with technology they might not otherwise have access to, we’re sending them a message of empowerment. They know we trust them to handle this equipment and it’s a much-needed boost to their self-esteem.
On My Way is a program for high school girls. Again, the focus is on academic success. We work with students who are performing below grade level and at risk of dropping out. The girls meet with us once a week for a full hour, and have access to iPads and e-readers. They also get the support they need to help them deal with the pressures of their lives, thanks to their ongoing relationships with tutors whose salaries are paid for by Rogers Youth Fund. It makes a huge difference to be able to count on the continued presence of paid staff.
What kind of difference do you think this makes in the lives of the young people you work with?
We worked with one boy who was reading well below grade level. All his friends were into the Hunger Games trilogy, and he wasn’t able to join in the conversation about this popular series because he found reading too hard. We were able to set him up with a Kobo e-reader and an iPod-enabled audio book. Having the audio took some of the pressure off. He was able to listen to the book and follow along with the e-reader, much as if it were close captioning. Not only was he able to discuss the book with his peers, but his reading skills improved.
Another young woman we’ve worked with was coming up to the deadline for her high school equivalency, and it was obvious she wouldn’t get there on her own. We set up her with one of our tutors, who helped her prioritize and understand her work. She graduated on time as a result.
Our thanks to Beth for taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak with us. Do you have any questions for us about the work we support through Rogers Youth Fund?