Brockville – On Thursday, 10 students aged 16 to 21 graduated from the eight week Connections? ?Summer? ?Program, with one of them actually earning enough credits to graduate from high school.
The 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 the 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.
“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,” said Cst Mark Heffernan, Brockville Police Community Safety Officer.
The program 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.
Thursday’s graduation ceremony was held at Brimstone Wood Fired Pizza restaurant in Downtown Brockville and featured students’ family and friends, teachers from the program as well as members of the Brockville Police Service and Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark.
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.
The students earned 30 high school credits and 3,083 volunteer hours at local events such as the Movies in the Park, Brockville Rib Fest, Rails To Trails, The Hub River Club, Funfest, Block Party, Bethel Christian Reformed Church, and Summer Kids Club. As well, the youth also attended several conferences and workshops, and worked in the local Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI).
The program was funded through inter-ministerial and financial support from community donors, private donors, the CDSBEO and various government grants.