In September 2012 Homework Club piloted the Youth Engagement Project (YEP!) to engage the most at-risk students, providing them with the additional support they need to be successful at school.
Students are supported by two youth engagement workers who help students to develop a success plan for the year. Participants receive one-to-one personal support to set goals, identify strengths and weaknesses, and track their progress throughout the year. Students commit to attend Homework Club 3 days a week, to attend all classes regularly and on time, and to maintain regular contact with their YEP! worker throughout the school year.
They also attend once monthly Friday night “mentor nights” where students, youth engagement workers and other volunteers share a meal and participate in activities ranging from talking circles and games to sports or cultural activities.
Over spring break, participants spend three days on the Sunshine Coast in a lake front cabin swimming, hiking and learning in the outdoors. For their commitment, students receive a small monthly stipend as well as a bursary for post-secondary education upon successful completion of the school year.
As our third year of YEP! draws to a close, we are excited to announce our first two graduates! Despite incredible odds, two of our youth will graduate in June, and both will begin training as hairstylists in the fall. Another of our youth has been accepted into the Vancouver School Board’s ACE-IT program and will be completing high school next year while simultaneously earning credit for Level 1 Technical Training of the Automotive Service Technician apprenticeship program. We are also beginning to see all our hard work pay off, as ALL of our students achieved a C average or better on their most recent report cards!