North York Mirror
Mohamed Ahmed has seen first-hand how young people living in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area have benefitted from the Success Beyond Limits (SBL) program.
The free, six-week summer program gives students entering Grade 9 an early high school credit.
Some 100 Grade 8 students from Oakdale Park Middle School and Brookview Middle School participated in the program this year, held at York University, focusing on English and math. The other component of the SBL program is field trips, which were organized in afternoons. York University’s Faculty of Education is one of the program’s sponsors.
Those who complete the program, which focuses on literacy, numeracy and life skills, earn a high school credit in General Learning Strategies. Most of the participants go on to start high school at Westview Centennial Secondary School.
The SBL program is conducted in small classrooms, with one teacher and three mentors for every 15 students. Mentors are Westview students.
This year’s program wrapped up Aug. 6, complete with a graduation ceremony.
Ahmed, who was a student in the program before taking on a mentor role, is now the academic and social co-ordinator for the initiative.
“When they go to Westview they will know the mentors and the other students in the program,” he said. “They gain a high school credit so they are already a step ahead of the other students.”
Mentors act as a bumper between students and teachers, Ahmed said, adding younger students view mentors as role models.
“(Mentors) play an integral role,” he said. “They are the backbone of the program.”
Ahmed, who has bachelor of education and sociology degrees from York University, is working toward his masters degree in education, hoping to become a full-time teacher.
After watching a presentation at school about the program, Tanjim Hossain decide to enrol.
“I think it’s very good,” he said. “We learned lots of stuff we didn’t know.”
Hossain said he plans to become an architect and design houses.
The SBL program is a joint initiative of York University and the Jays Care Foundation, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board.