SD73 and the United Way – Partners in Supporting Students to Thrive

Posted On Thursday December 01, 2022

By Trustees Cara McKelvey and Shelley Sim

December 1, 2022

SD73’s approximately 16,000 students are located in urban and rural communities across 27,000 square kilometers (appr. the size of Vancouver Island). The Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education’s mission is to foster learning opportunities and environments that inspire students to thrive within these diversely located communities. Our partners are invaluable in enabling us to live our mission.

The United Way (UW) is one such highly valued partner that supplements funding in schools for food security, social activities, and before and after school care programming in Kamloops and North Thompson. These programs and services are key to creating learning opportunities and environments that invite our students to feel cared for, connected, loved, and ready to learn.

A Partnership Story from Logan Lake

Mr. Ron Collins, Principal of Logan Lake Elementary and Secondary Schools, shared how the United Way supports the District mission in his school communities:

We work very closely in our community with the "WHY" (Wellness, Health and Youth) organization and local food bank. The WHY receives the majority of their funding through the United Way, and the Food Bank applies for UW grants when needed.

With funds from UW, the WHY provides our school community with programs such as the Preschool in our elementary school, which prepares young learners for Kindergarten and makes the transition seamless; a K-7 after school program, “Creative Kids” (arts, crafts, and fitness activities); a Literacy Group for one-on-one reading programs; “Cram the Cruiser” (donated items to supply our students and families with gifts for the holiday season); use of Fitness Equipment and Facilities funded by UW; and a Seniors Program (Better @ Home) operated through the WHY.

The Food Bank provides us with our Starfish Backpack program and services many of our families through their branch. In turn, we also provide them with extra products that we receive from the COBs, End of Day Program. I pick up 8-12 bins of product each Tuesday evening that we use for our meal programs and the remaining items are donated to the food bank.

A Partnership Story from Clearwater Secondary School

Mr. Darren Coates, Principal of Clearwater Secondary School shared his experiences with the United Way supporting their students and families:

The United Way supports our Before and After-school when it is required; Food Programs and snacks at break time. Given inflation, this food program offers stigma-free, universal access to food and opportunities for students to volunteer and benefit from taking on leadership; Everyone Can Play Funds – supplement costs for families in need- a ‘hand up’ to families in need; Wellness Programming – UW funding enables us to offer after school fitness classes, access to our weight room, and additional after school clubs. Especially coming out of COVID, these pro-social well being enhancing activities are key; Teen Life – an after school group that assists teens to navigate relationships and practice assertive communication and boundary-setting; and Beyond Hurt – a Red Cross developed curriculum on bullying prevention. We deliver this to our students and train some of our students to deliver it to our feeder elementary schools.

Our urban and rural communities depend on partners to ensure that all families are welcomed into their schools with supports and services that create a sense of being cared for and loved within inclusive environments that are driven by relationships/connections, wellbeing, equity, and sustainability as core value commitments, the foundational framework of the District’s 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan.

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on Dec 1, 2022

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