Chilliwack's latest entry for the Aviva Community Fund grant would benefit not one school

Chilliwack school seeks funds for its most vulnerable

Chilliwack's latest entry for the Aviva Community Fund grant would benefit not one school, but four schools.

Central elementary has submitted an application to Aviva Community Fund that would not only help their school, but three others as well.

The community school is vying for funds to purchase a 12-14 seat van that would enable children attending nearby inner-city schools to access Central’s 2nd Day, free, after-school program.

Bernard elementary, Robertson elementary and McCammon traditional would benefit.

“I think it is imperative that we look through a school district and community lens and do what is going to positively impact the largest number of students possible,” said Jim Edgecomb, principal of Central elementary.

“What we know as educators is that when adults and children feel connected to their community, and that there are opportunities for them to achieve their own independence, that the impact is always noticed in an improved learning environment.”

According to the 2012 Middle Years Development Instrument, downtown Chilliwack has the lowest socio-economic status; its children are often victims of poverty, family violence, and many enter school severely at risk.

They have limited to no after-school supervision; go without afternoon snacks; lack access to resources including computers, organized sports teams, music and art lessons due to financial constraints.

What 2nd Day does is provide all that, and more, at no charge.

For 10 months, the after-school program runs every day from Monday to Friday, from 2:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., and gives vulnerable students a place to be after school, to get help with their homework, eat nutritional snacks, and engage in fun activities like glass-etching, hip-hop dance, cartoon-making, cooking, organized sports, and more.

Currently the program serves as many as 45 students daily, however, when the temperature drops and the weather turns, the attendance will also likely drop.

Most parents of children attending 2nd Day don’t have easy access to transportation.

“The program itself is doing really well, but where we’re lacking is transportation,” said Shannon Carmichael, Central elementary’s community school coordinator.

Transportation would solve that problem, and would open up 2nd Day to other vulnerable students in the downtown.

Collectively, Bernard, Robertson and McCammon serve over 1,000 students, many of who would benefit from a program like 2nd Day.

“If we could open it up and have that transportation support, then we could in turn offer it to more schools that have children in need,” said Carmichael.

The added transportation would also benefit several of the adult programs offered at Central elementary through the Gateway for Families program.

Aviva Community Fund is awarding grants, between $5,000 and $150,000 to community projects across Canada, based on a voting system.

In order to move on to the semi finals, Central’s 2nd Day Wheels for Kids entry needs votes.

Voting is from now until Monday, Nov. 4. Anyone with an email can vote once a day, every day. To vote, visit the website http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf18340

kbartel@theprogress.com

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