TOP 10 List
Right about this time of year there are Top 10 lists everywhere you turn. In that vein, we have a list of our own (in NO particular order).
10. New Team Members: adding Bryan Brown (Youth Outreach Worker) and Toota Hassanien (After School Supervisor). Two exceptional new members of the SBL family!
9. Collaboration: we can not list them all here, but the people, committees, organizations, agencies, funders, ministries, advisors, and partners that have stood with us in ways great and small define so much of what is possible through organic, authentic collaboration.
8. Space (217 and Osgoode): We have been growing into our amazing space at Westview Centennial and we were welcomed into the beautifully renovated Osgoode Hall Law School at York U. It’s not just having space, but the type of space that makes the difference.
7. Coming Together Through Difficult Times: one only needs to have turned on the news this past year to know how many young people in the Jane and Finch community lost their lives tragically. What was not shared across the city was how youth, mentors, and caring-adults came together and found strength in the bonds and love shared.
6. Sharing Knowledge and Experience: our staff and mentors make a point of sharing our model and experiences wherever possible with the hope that other communities can learn from and take from what we have been a part of in Jane and Finch. This past summer a community collective launched a summer program for youth in Malvern after inviting us to come out and share what we do and how we do it.
5. A Special Graduation: SBL as an organization was founded in June of 2010, and one of the major forces behind this were the students that were in grade 9 that year. This past June we witnessed many of those students take their final steps as Westview students across the stage to mark their secondary school graduation.
4. Our Mentees: Every summer we feel like our new grade 9s come in and make the program the best that it’s ever been. Well that’s how we felt again this year.
3. Our Mentors: when the grade 9s come in, we know they will become mentors one day (but it is hard to imagine). This year we really saw the inverse of that: mentees that had become mentors and shown so much growth that it was hard to remember them as grade 9s.
2. Our Parents: our programming is focused on youth and you want find much on our website about parents. That said, a great deal of the work of our staff is meeting with parents, taking/making calls, and partnering on supporting students through barriers and towards success. Many of the most touching moments of this past year were between parents, our staff and our students.
1. Our Teachers: every year we assemble a phenomenal team of eight Toronto District School Board teachers (via Continuing Education). These are teachers that motivate 100+ thirteen and fourteen years olds to be on a school bus at 8am for six-weeks, who partner with senior high school students as mentors in the delivery of the credit, who build long-lasting relationships, and who embrace the power of community and school partnerships in empowering students.