Connections​ ​Summer​ ​Program​ ​for​ ​Local​ ​Youth Celebrates Success – HomeTown TV12
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Connections​ ​Summer​ ​Program​ ​for​ ​Local​ ​Youth Celebrates Success

Connections​ ​Summer​ ​Program​ ​for​ ​Local​ ​Youth Celebrates Success

Relationships, Relevance, Rigour, Resilience, Reading,  wRiting, and aRithmetic

Brockville – After reviewing our local data related to our local youth, Brockville Police Service, in consultation with the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Children’s Aid Society, partnered with RNJ Youth Services and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) to design the 2017 Summer Connections program. The purpose of the summer program was to establish ‘care teams’ and provide evidence based services in the Counties of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, for 10 of our most deserving youth, ranging in age from 16 – 21, who are disengaged from the school system and need support in the areas of academics, life skills and social skills in order to be successful. It provided a context within which the school board, community service partners and their staff could work together to improve educational outcomes and personal well-being for these youth and their families and to get them back on track to engage and attend their home school in the fall.

“Connections staff partnered with our community support staff were prepared to do whatever the students needed to ensure their success in earning required high school credits and become positively engaged in their local community”, stated Constable Mark Heffernan. “The Connections Program was started to engage youth who are going through a tough time and are falling through the cracks of our systems. We are here to give them what they need to succeed in overcoming their current challenges by providing them the support, tools and confidence to thrive in their life. Our vision is one We believe we are all born with extreme potential to have fulfilling lives and to do great things! We are committed with an unwavering determination to never give up on any youth and to help them realize the greatness that they have within them. To give them HOPE for a better future and the tools that they need to achieve it.”

Professionally qualified Connections staff including a teacher and three Child and Youth Workers worked with CDSBEO, RNJ Youth Services and Children’s Aid staff to identify what each of the 10 students needed in order to graduate from high school and prepare personal learning plans for them. Community engagement was included in the plan and opportunities for the youth to volunteer in the Brockville community were identified. Executive Director of RNJ Youth Services, Sue Poldervaart, indicated that strategies such as the support for community integration, transportation, social skills training, and precision teaching were all factors of the Connections Program that supported the youth on their journey to success.

A Connections student wrote, “ The Connections Program has been an adventure… This program has opened a wide variety of doors for me. The staff are fantastic.” Another added, “(This summer) I have graduated from high school, got lots of community involvement and experience with new things which has helped me figure out what I want to accomplish for post secondary at college.”

A Connections Summer Program Graduation Ceremony is taking place on August 31 at Buds on the Bay in Brockville. Students will be celebrating:

Earning a number of high school credits towards graduation,

1 High School Graduate
10 Choices Graduates
7 Safe Talk Graduates

Conferences Attended

10 Oshawa YIPI Conference Participants
2 Allyship Conference Participants
2 Toronto Youth Can Conference

3083 Hours Volunteering

Volunteer Hours earned at:

Movies in the Park
Rib Fest
I CAN BIKE
Rails To Trails
The Hub
River Club
Funfest
Block Party
Bethel Christian Reformed Church Summer Kids Club

The Connections is made possible through inter-ministerial and financial support from the generosity of the community, private donors, the CDSBEO and various government grants. We will remain vigilant in staying in contact with provincial officials and the community to ensure sustainability of a year long Connections Program to support our students” stated Heffernan. “At
times like this, it is about doing the right thing as an organization of caring people, who seek to attend to best interest of deserving youth and their families.”

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