Trillium Foundation Presentation to YMCA . Candice Jeffrey, Grant Review Team Member - Ontario Trillium Foundation,YMCA President & CEO Kathi Lomas McGee, YMCA Beyond the Bell Program Coordinator Teresa Custance, YMCA Child Care General Manager Heather Forbes and YMCA VP-Operations Liz Fletcher.

YMCA Helping Students Reach Their Potential

More local students having learning and other difficulties at school will get a step up, thanks to a $683,000 “Grow Grant” from the Ontario Trillium Foundation

The money will be used to expand the YMCA “Beyond The Bell Program” to Walpole Island Elementary School in 2018 and another unconfirmed location in 2019.

Southwestern YMCA Regional Operations Vice President Liz Fletcher says the after-school programs are already being held at three schools, A.A. Wright Public School in Wallaceburg, St. Agnes Catholic School in Chatham and P.E. McGibbon Public School in Sarnia.

“The Beyond the Bell Program is a free, after-school program for grade school students,” says Fletcher. “By working closely with teachers, the individual challenges of each child are identified and a preventative plan of action input in place, helping children improve literacy and math skills, as well as build social skills, develop self-confidence and experience new opportunities. It helps them give the tools and support they need to close the achievement gap experienced by low-income children and develop a stronger and more successful future.”

About 50 students are currently involved in the program.

67% improved their reading skills, 62% had higher math marks and over 80% said the program made learning fun.

About a dozen specially trained teachers are involved with two more to be hired at Walpole Island.