Tyrone Manners – Making a Second Chance Count

No comments

The beginning of secondary school did not go as planned for Tyrone. A combination of factors, including situations outside of school that would be difficult for anyone to endure, got the best of him.


Absences and lates piled up, grades declined, and credits slipped through his fingers.


With most of the close friends that he came into grade 9 with at different schools or not in school at all, motivation to graduate was fading.


When Tyrone was hired as a Mentor for SBL, there were many that questioned whether he was a role model. In that first summer, and in the summers that followed, he thrived in a leadership role. His ability to understand where youth facing difficulties were coming from, his way of presenting options in a way that is not telling you what to do, and the respect he had built with youth in the community made him a fundamental part of the success of SBL. As much as Tyrone was helping others, things got worse before they got better. After a few substantial set-backs, his desire to succeed only grew stronger.


In the past year, he has completed a coop placement with SBL, participated in the completion of 3 short films (one fiction and two documentaries), presented at conferences and forums (as far away as Welland, Ontario), and represented SBL to external stakeholders.


He is now a running a weekly film and photography workshop, he works in SBL as a Senior Mentor, he is a part of The Remix Project, and he is on track to complete secondary school with a goal post-secondary education so that he can continue to work with youth.

successBLTyrone Manners – Making a Second Chance Count
read more

Mariah & Precilla – Building a Career from a Passion

No comments

Mariah came into SBL as a mentee, fresh out of grade 8, nervous and
excited about entering secondary school. That summer, she built bonds and
connections to other students, mentors, and SBL staff.

Over the course of the following two school years, Mariah moved from
grade a 9 attending tutoring sessions where she was being mentored and was
participating in enrichment activities, to volunteering and supporting other

Outside of SBL, Mariah and her friend Priscilla took advantage of the
remarkable dance program at Westview to make the most of their passion
for dance. While SBL offered dance once a week, this was not enough for
this duo, as they were taking their craft seriously and were practicing daily.
Through performances at Westview, in the community, and throughout the
city, it became clear that they had a gift – one that they could share.

This past summer, Mariah and Priscilla were hired by the SBL summer
program as dance instructors. They instructed over 100 students for 6
weeks, choreographing routines and getting even the most reluctant youth
off the wall in their sessions.

SBL will continue to stand behind Mariah and Priscilla in their vision of building a career in dance, and their goal of starting a small business that will lead into opening a dance school.

successBLMariah & Precilla – Building a Career from a Passion
read more

Nana Tieku – From Mentorship to Governance

No comments


In 2008, Nana transferred to Westview Centennial to start grade 11 as a Wildcat, playing for the school’s soccer team. His aspiration was to be a professional soccer player. As the season progressed, he began to lose his interest in playing soccer and was left wondering what the future had in store for him.


During this time, Nana had come across the SBL program and was looking
for employment. He applied and was successful in becoming a Mentor. It was in his role as a Mentor that Nana came to the realization that working with youth was his passion. He was motivated by seeing that his
outgoing and positive personality allowed him to build lasting relationships
with other youth.


Going into his final year of secondary school, Nana was focused on
accomplishing his goal of attending college to pursue an education in social
work. After graduating from Westview, he was accepted into the social
work program at George Brown.

During his second year of study, his journey came full circle when he landed as a placement student with SBL. In his new role, Nana continued to mentor youth, conducted workshops, met with teachers to advocate for students, and started his own program.
In a short time, Nana flourished as a youth leader and is now a member of the SBL Board where he plays an important role in bringing forward a youth voice to the decision making process, while building his own capacity. As a graduate of George Brown, he will begin his pursuit of a degree in sociology at York University.

successBLNana Tieku – From Mentorship to Governance
read more

Shyanne Witter – Post-Secondary Success: Against the Odds

No comments

When Shyanne started mentoring in 2008, there were teachers that
thought it was a ‘mistake’. They were referring to issues around her
attendance, poor grades, negative associations, and an alleged ‘bad

As a Mentor she proved to be highly respected by the students, vital
in conflict mediation, and extremely reliable. In this role she was
voted by her peers as a Mentor Among Mentors for three consecutive
years, the ultimate compliment.

Shyanne’s sense of purpose in helping youth and the personal
success she experienced led to the field of social work. She is now in
her second year at Humber College with a full scholarship that came
with support from a mentor who has already achieved her next goal
of a Masters degree in social work. Those who doubted her now celebrate her success, and she is spoken of by youth she has mentored as a role model. In March of 2011, she was mentioned in the Toronto Star as someone to watch in Jane and Finch.

Shyanne is now working in the SBL Youth Space at Westview Centennial doing her social work placement. This success story, though amazing, is by no means finished.

successBLShyanne Witter – Post-Secondary Success: Against the Odds
read more

SBL 2010 – 2012

No comments

•    Over the course of two summers, 195 new grade 9 students have gone through the Success Beyond Limits summer program; 174 credits have been granted, giving an 89% success rate of students eligible for the credit.

•    Achieved a classroom ratio of 1 teacher to 15 students.


•     Additional one to one student support as each classroom has 3-4 mentors, bringing the level of support to a 1 to 3 ratio.


•    45 Mentors have been employed and trained during the summer and school year since 2010.


•    All 4 of our graduating Mentors in 2010 went on to post-secondary education.


•    Brought 7 external programs/organizations to Westview to provide valuable programming to Westview students.


•    Worked in partnership with the staff at Brookview Middle School and Oakdale Park Middle School to offer students youth-led workshops and to conduct outreach for our summer program.

successBLSBL 2010 – 2012
read more

Summer 2011

No comments

•    94 new grade 9 students registered in summer program, with 80 earning their first secondary school credit, a success rate of 85%.

•    An additional 12 students joined the program late and were ineligible for the credit, with all 12 expressing in a survey that they felt more prepared for secondary school as a result of SBL.

•    Of 106 students, 32% were transfer students, and 50% were referred to us due to social/personal/academic concerns from their schools, parents and/or community partners.

•    25 Mentors were employed full-time  (20 in the classroom environment and 5 in a documentary film training program).

•    Partnership with SkyWorks Films supporting 5 Mentors in the completion of two community focused documentaries.

•    Of the 25 Mentors: 15 were former Mentees and 10 Mentors were former volunteers.

•    30 Volunteers (Mentors-in-Training) contributed 1260 hours to the summer program.

•    14 Volunteers (Mentors-in-Training) were former Mentees, with 100% expressing goal of becoming an SBL Mentor.

•    Since 2010 we have worked with 11 TDSB teachers and 9 of that 11 had previously taught in the Jane-Finch community.

•    Of 11 teachers, 5 are from the Jane-Finch community.

•    6 of 7 SBL teachers were returning staff, with one new hire from Westview Centennial Secondary School.

•    In a research study done by Social Work Graduate students, 100% of SBL teachers surveyed indicated that teaching in the SBL Summer Program was transformational in their teaching practice, brought them closer to youth in the community, and encouraged innovation in their classroom.

•    2 former SBL/Westview students worked as dance instructors and paid facilitators in the program, delivering programming to youth participants.

•    Completed our first annual general meeting, adding four youth members to our board of directors.

successBLSummer 2011
read more

School year 2010-2011

No comments

•    163 students were registered in the 2010 school year program, with many more dropping-in, seeking one-on-one supports, and/or attending one-time events.


•    16 of 20 mentors from the summer program continued employment as a mentor during the school year (the other 4 mentors graduated and moved on to post-secondary education.)


•    4 volunteers (Mentors-in-Training) were able to take on Mentor roles.


•    60 Westview students volunteered during the school year totaling over 9,000 hours.


•    Launched the March Break “Employment Readiness and Career Exploration Program” in partnership with Westview Centennial, which included 28 Westview students.
•    Engagement of York University students as tutors at Westview Centennial through our partnership with the Community Legal Aid and Services Programme (CLASP) at York University: 10 tutors completing 320 hours combined.


•    In partnership with Ontario’s Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and the Art Gallery of York University, we celebrated the launch of  “The Life You Choose vs. The Life That Chooses You” Photovoice project, which included a full gallery showing and art installation, and a street postering campaign.


•    5 SBL students took part in the March Break Movie Making Madness Bootcamp offered by the Toronto International Film Festival and completed a short film.
•    4 SBL students took part in the TDSB Focus on Youth Leadership Retreat.


•    2 former Mentors worked with SBL as placement students totaling over 900 placement hours.


•    Operated as core members of the Inner City Advisory Committee, Education Attainment West, and the United Way Community of Practice on Youth Educational Attainment in 2010-11.


•    7 SBL students took part on a panel discussing dropout rates at “The Pulse of Education” hosted by Education Attainment West.


•    SBL Staff and a Mentor presented the SBL Model in Welland, Ontario at a forum on education.


successBLSchool year 2010-2011
read more

Summer 2010

No comments


•    101 students were enrolled in the summer and 94 got the credit.


•    Students were prepared for secondary school as a result of our program giving them the following:


–    Exposure to the grade 9 curriculum.
–    Academically and socially prepared through life skills component.
–    Awareness of resources such as Senior Mentors and SBL staff.
–    Feeling a sense of connectedness and confidence.


•    Of students surveyed in 2009-10, 100% indicated an improvement in grades, motivation and/or attendance through the program.


•    14 Mentors received a co-op credit. 20 students volunteered.


•    As reflected in surveys, 100% of our mentors have discovered new levels of purpose, responsibility, and focus.


•    There were 5 SBL Staff and 8 TDSB teachers.


•    Secured the York University Faculty Association as trustee, while SBL engages in the process of achieving charitable status.


•    Secured a partnership agreement with the Toronto District School Board.

successBLSummer 2010
read more