Vulnerable kids in Surrey are scoring big after a visit from a couple of Vancouver Canucks on Monday afternoon.
Twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin were at Holly Elementary to help officially launch Clubhouse 36, a program that provides inner-city students aged six to 12 with after-school and school break activities they might not normally be able to access.
The Sedin Family Foundation, Surrey School District and YMCA of Greater Vancouver launched the program, with support from founding sponsors Westland Insurance, the Robert L. Conconi Foundation, Bosa Properties Foundation, as well as BMO and Canucks for Kids Fund.
Clubhouse 36 was piloted at Holly, as well as two other local elementary schools – Georges Vanier and Lena Shaw – in July. More than 170 children at those schools had the chance to try archery, fishing, robot-building and other activities during summer vacation.
Programming at the Surrey schools will continue to be offered to 80 children two days per week after school, and full-day activities will be available during spring and summer breaks to as many as 150 kids. Breakfast and lunch is also provided.
The goal is to “build the confidence and self-esteem of at-risk and vulnerable students through social, emotional, life, sport, art, leadership and academic learning in a structured out-of-school environment.”
Daniel Sedin said it’s important that classroom learning is enriched with interesting, fun and safe activities outside of school.
“For young children … school is the centre of their daily activity. Offering Clubhouse 36 in partnership with the YMCA in community schools makes it as accessible as possible for students and their families.”
Clubhouse 36 will be co-staffed by Surrey Schools and the YMCA, and volunteers from local high schools will also provide support. Students are identified to participate by school staff and take part in programs free of charge.
Henrik said he and his brother had the opportunity to take part in after-school activities growing up and wanted to help provide those experiences to other children.
“The four of us all grew up in a small town in Sweden and community was really important to our families,” he said referring to he and his brother and their wives. “It is inspiring for us to see how Clubhouse 36 is already impacting the lives of students and their families in the Surrey community.”
The hope is that Clubhouse 36 can eventually be expanded to other schools.
Currently, 36 of Surrey’s 120 public schools are designated inner city, based on factors such as low average income, single parent and refugee families and number of children in government care.
Shawn Wilson, chair fo the Surrey school board, was pleased to see obstacles to learning and success being removed.
“It is heartening to see the community coming together for families,” he said.