YMCA Beyond the Bell
When the gap is this wide, children can fall through the cracks
The income disparity in Hamilton is widely known. In some Hamilton neighbourhoods the poverty rate is below 6% and other neighbourhoods are over 40%. In several neighbourhoods, child poverty rates are over 50%. Over 87% of low income families live in the north end.
Living with poverty is linked with many health problems including low birth weight, poor nutrition, increased behavioural and emotional problems and lower levels of education.Children living in poverty are at a higher risk of encountering problems such as physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, crime and violence.
But of all these negatives, there is one gap that you can help close that can break the cycle of poverty for a child.
Help close the Achievement Gap
Research shows that most children lose approximately 2 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills throughout the summer months. Low income students lose even more than that in reading achievement, while their middle-class peers make slight gains. By emphasizing literacy, numeracy, recreation, homework help and values education year round, YMCA Beyond the Bell gives children the additional help they need to keep pace with their grade level and peers.
Beyond the Bell is a year-round program that focuses on minimizing the academic achievement gap experienced by low-income children compared to their middle-income classmates.
By giving kids year round access to innovative support programs like Beyond the Bell, children show marked improvement in their self-perception, school bonding and positive social behaviours as well as their academic performance through test scores, grades and attendance.
What your help will close is the achievement gap. What it will open are opportunities a child will have for a successful future.
The program runs after school within 9 schools at no charge to the participants.
Who attends Beyond the Bell?
- Children in grades 1 through 5
- 41% of families earn less than $20,000 annually
- 28 different languages are spoken in the schools
- More than half of students are not literate in their first language and English is their second language
- A sizeable number are refugees, whose families have arrived in Canada with few possessions, many coming directly from camps
Beyond the Bell includes programming in the following areas:
- Academic support (homework help, reading)
- Values Education: Caring, honesty, respect and responsibility
- Literacy (reading, writing, thinking and speaking)
- Numeracy (math games and number recognition)
How is the program evaluated?
Beyond the Bell is evaluated using a variety of methods. Registration forms are completed and attendance monitored. Program success is measured by student attendance, improvements in reading and math scores, as well as social competencies, changes in student attitudes toward reading, parent, principal and staff satisfaction with the program and compliance with Beyond the Bell standards.
For more information contact:
Senior Regional Manager, YMCA School Age, Day Camp & Community Outreach