Studies show that children who remain engaged academically through to Grade 10 are much more likely to graduate high school. Education is a key to breaking the cycle of poverty and can create immense challenges for families, neighbourhoods, and communities.
With this in mind, our unique approach at the Leacock Foundation, is to provide a continuum of care.
In Toronto, we do this by providing needs-based programming that keeps youth actively engaged in literacy and leadership-focused curriculums after school, on weekends, and during the summer from Grade 1 right through to high school. Accessible fee-free and enriched extra-curricular programs with both academic and experiential/leadership components provide youth safe, positive spaces to spend their out of school hours, preventing academic slideback and enhancing self-esteem, positive behaviour, and civic engagement.
In South Africa, we do this by supporting infrastructure, technology, resources, and after-school programs at all 3 Get Ahead Project schools, which run from Grade R (Kindergarten) to Matric (Grade 12). We ensure youth are supported at every grade level and that every classroom is equipped with what it needs, so that GAP graduates complete Grade 12 fully prepared, both in terms of academics and personal development (confidence, leadership, self-esteem, etc.).
We are beginning to see our continuum of care go full circle, in that several of our program participants are graduating from high school and university, and returning to the Leacock Foundation as staff, teachers, and program directors. For some examples, you can click here to read Abukar’s story and here to read Amanda’s story.