Two organizations that help at-risk students improve their physical and mental well-being will each receive grants of $150,000 from the Government of British Columbia.
The funding will help Take a Hike Foundation and Right To Play expand their programs in B.C., so that more students who may be at risk can benefit from the supports provided by these specialized programs.
“I am proud to support innovative programs in our schools that help prevent students from falling through the cracks, and provide them with the skills and confidence needed to succeed in school and beyond,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Both of these programs help students achieve higher levels of physical and mental well-being, as well as academic success.”
“Creating social relationships is crucial to the overall well-being, mental health, and development of children and youth,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Programs like Take a Hike support at-risk students by providing them with an important sense of belonging and connection — to their peers, to the natural environment and to their community.”
Take a Hike is a full-time, alternative education program for youth in grades 10 to 12 that uses a combination of outdoor adventure-based learning, academics, therapy and community involvement to engage students. The program currently serves 80 students, with 20 students per class in four classes. Two classes are in Vancouver, one in Burnaby and one in Trail. It is expanding into Surrey for the next school year, benefiting 20 more students.
The program helps students attain real results. Last year, 92% of Grade 12 students in the program graduated with a high school diploma. There is also a significant increase in school attendance amongst participants — from an average of 2.25 days per week to four days per week (a 77% increase).
“Take a Hike is thrilled to be working with the Ministry of Education to offer this proven and successful program to youth in B.C.,” said Gordon Matchett, CEO, Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation. “Over the past 18 years, we have seen hundreds of Take a Hike youth graduate from high school and become resilient young adults. We are confident Surrey youth will see the same benefits.”
The funds for Right To Play will be used for the organization to enhance programming that is focused on mental well-being and physical health for Indigenous students, new immigrants and children in care. Right To Play currently operates in 19 communities in B.C., with their presence mainly in Indigenous communities. These funds will be used to develop partnerships with more school districts.
“Right To Play is thrilled to be working with the Ministry of Education to continue our work with children and youth around B.C.,” said Rose Lipton, director of Canadian programs at Right To Play. “We have seen incredible results in terms of child and youth engagement, and with our programs also supported by Microsoft, we know that working together with the ministry will lead to even greater results and long-term impact.”
Since launching in 2015, Right To Play in B.C. has worked with over 1,500 children and youth. The program uses the power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. The funding will also help Right To Play work with interested school districts on creating programming that aligns with B.C.’s new curriculum.
- The Take a Hike program is designed primarily for students who are between the ages of 15 and 19, in grades 10 to 12 and who are at risk of dropping out of school, or who have already dropped out.
- Between one-third to one-half of Take a Hike participants identify as Indigenous, and approximately one-quarter of participants are from new immigrant families.
- 92% of Right To Play program participants said they were excited about school, and developed a more positive attitude toward school.
- Since 2010, Right To Play programming in Canada has expanded from two to more than 85 Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada, engaging approximately 5,000 children and youth.
Right To Play: http://www.righttoplay.ca
Take a Hike: http://www.takeahikefoundation.org