July 17, 2017 3:14 pm
Updated: July 17, 2017 6:36 pm

Moncton’s Boys & Girls Club seeks provincial help for student program as funds run out

WATCH ABOVE: A program that has helped more than a thousand struggling students in Greater Moncton is at risk of failing without provincial assistance. Shelley Steeves explains.

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A Moncton Boys and Girls Club program that has helped roughly 1,500 struggling students in Greater Moncton over the last five years is at risk of ending without help from the province.

Rebecca Campbell, director of communications and resource development for the Boys and Girls Club of Moncton, says funding has run out for their “Raising the Grade” program and she fears the end of the program will be a blow to many students.

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“Within the school system there are a lot of resources available but sometimes they are not enough and sometimes resources that are available our parents can’t afford,” Campbell said.

Over the last five years, the program has offered tutoring, homework support and even counseling for kids who may not be getting the extra support they need through the province’s school system or through private tutoring.

Campbell says the major corporate sponsor who funded the program, Rogers Communications, has fulfilled its five year funding promise. So if the province can’t come up with a long-term funding commitment, the program will be unable to continue.

READ MORE: Saskatoon teachers use stationary bikes to help students concentrate

“The province is the biggest user of this program through our work with the two school districts and all of the schools in the area, so we need them to step in and start funding this,” she said.

Before enrolling in the Raising the Grade program, Faith Perry said she always struggled in school academically and emotionally.

“It really helped me get back into school and I actually just graduated this year which I really wouldn’t have thought I would have ever done without this program,” she said.

The club is looking for a long-term funding commitment from the province of roughly $155,000 every year.  Campbell says the funding would allow the club to pay for certified teachers, classroom materials and educational outings for students, roughly 50 per cent of which are newcomers to Canada.

Jabber Abuzeid, 12, moved to Canada from Jordan a year-and-a-half ago and said he would never have learned English without the program.

“We have to spell words, read books and write,” he said.

READ MORE: Winnipeg school trustee wants more funding for teaching newcomers, refugee students

Last year, the province gave the club $45,000 dollars in emergency funding to support the program to the end of the school year so students enrolled in the program could graduate in June.

But Kelly Cormier, communication officer for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development said in an email that the province won’t be funding the program due to the cost.

“Such an investment in one particular community organization would be a significant departure from our normal procedures,” she wrote. “However, we will continue to work with community partners to enhance education in our province.”

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