Merritt Youth & Family Resources Society
October 15, 2012
Overview:OBJECTIVE: To develop an Explorers Club for at risk boys and girls, ages 7 – 12 years. Create a creative opportunity for low income or minority groups so their child (ren) are able to access free youth activities.
GOALS: To establish a free fun activity and educational preventive program to keep at risk children of low income or minority groups off the street before they get there. To provide a atmosphere that promotes wanting to learn thereby encouraging children in their formal educational endeavors..
THE PROGRAM: The Explorers Club will work towards building literacy, social and physical achievements and motivation. It will address the social and behavioral expectations that can play a role in the gender differences in literacy achievements or disconnect between the schools and parent expectations. The learning modules that will be developed will reflect the 40 developmental assets for youth success in coping in today's environment
(http://www.search-institute.org/system/files/40Assets_MC_0.pdf). The outreach of this program will be at the individual, family, school, agencies, and community levels. All society, cultural and genders will be able to access the Club.
EXPLORERS CLUB ACTIVITIES: Finding your explorer - geocaching, nature, bugs, spy, animal, look up in the sky Creative style - jewelry, containers, homemade paper, recipes Theatre & story making Self discovery - personality colors dimension, brain gym Explore culture - food, language, and lifestyle Explore history 7 the world - myth vs. truth, differences and similarities with different parts of the world Everyday etiquette - past vs. present What is a leader - mentoring and learning with elders Puzzles & quiz games developed by the youth Scavenger hunts - developing their own with maps, items or even Archaeology digs Computers - safe use Cool science experiments and tricks Plus activities the youth will suggest.
NEEDS ASSESSMENT: Challenges faced by youth know NO boundaries in a rural community. As we were setting up other programs having our involvement we recognized from the communications from both agencies and parents the gap in services for our 7-12 age groups. Our demographics show high levels of low income, low education - 38% no certificate or diploma, 19% high school or equivalent = 57% of working population and does not include stay at home parent(s), and limited resources (http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/SocialStatistics/CommunityFacts.aspx). There are some seasonal activities for a cost available that limits opportunity for these youth and their family in being able to access. There is no Boys and Girls club unless one travels out of the area.
AGENCY AND PARTICIPANT NEEDS: To implement the Club will need activity leaders plus 2 workers, a physical site, a program specific vehicle as transportation is a major obstacle for access programs, insurance, supplies, furniture, computers, and activity equipment. Development can begin for training modules, promotion, partnerships, accessing new resources and implementing for a December 2013 start on approval of the Aviva funding. We have started searching for an appropriate site and, as we have prior experience, know the methodology to promote & inform to the parents and school system.
SUSTAINABILITY: The AVIVA grant will assist in the start of the program that will be maintained by utilizing the community resources (i.e. assets committee, city & leisure facilities coordinators, donations, community buy in and agency partnerships). We have implemented other pilot projects for youth which are still active. Started by our agency the Teen Moms program and the Literacy program continue under the management of the school district. A special needs girls group now has government funding. We currently have a boys special needs group pilot project which has received funding from autism & children with special needs grant. For early years there is the Success by Six and strong start programs, for the 13-18 age group there is the smart step ( http://www.smartstepyouth.org/merritt-youth-council.html) and our teen centre and band teen programs. Merritt Youth and Family Resources Society have been providing family support for 34 years in the Nicola Valley / Merritt area. The increase in services we have been able to provide over the years relates to opportunities like the Aviva Community Grant.