For the past two summers, the Muslim Food Bank (MFBCS) has been running a summer school for elementary-aged, low-income and refugee children; tutoring them in the areas of English, Math, and Canadian socialization. The goal of the summer school program was twofold: on the one hand, with the word school in the name, academic improvement was a key measure of the program’s success; on the other hand, in addition to academic improvement, the program also provided an opportunity for the students to experience a pseudo-Canadian classroom environment, a direct correlation to the program’s secondary goal of integration. By and large, both years proved to be a success, seeing some 90 students attend classes all across the city of Surrey and Lower Mainland BC.
However, as the program transitioned into its third year, it became more and more apparent that there existed a particular group with similar needs who the program had thus far been unable to address: high school aged youth. When we previously held Summer School in 2016 and 2017, the parents of many of our students expressed a want for a similar program for their older children. Research into the matter revealed that older students could potentially benefit even more from such a program than their elementary aged counterparts.
It is with this information in mind that a few key changes have been made to the Summer School Program as it transitions into its third year. This year, the Summer School Program for Youth, as it has been rebranded, will run three days a week starting in early July until midway through August, focusing on tutoring high school aged students aged 13 to 18 in the areas of English, Math, and Science. In addition, the program will also be to the benefit of the volunteers who will work more closely with their peers than in years previous.
Growth is an important aspect of any program, stagnation breeds complacency, as an organization, MFBCS has always prided itself on its ability to keep its programming relevant to the cultural landscape. The changes made to the Summer School Program is just one of the ways MFBCS is demonstrating its ability to stay up to date on their clients’ needs as the organization continues its journey forward.