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Impact Stories

After-school program helps kids thrive and makes learning fun

“I can’t imagine not having this after-school program. We wouldn’t have as much social connection, and we wouldn’t do as many fun activities.” says Toby.

“I can’t imagine not having this after-school program. We wouldn’t have as much social connection, and we wouldn’t do as many fun activities.” says Toby.

This could never have been truer than in the past year.

13-year-old Toby loves soccer, drawing, and playing video games. His favourite subjects are social studies and science, but he doesn’t like doing homework—pretty typical for a seventh-grader.

A few years ago, Toby and his family moved to Canada and settled in North Vancouver. You can imagine how overwhelming being a newcomer family may be: experiencing the shock of the high cost of living in the Lower Mainland, navigating new healthcare processes, and accessing vital support services. But one of the biggest challenges is finding a community to be part of—finding social connection and a sense of belonging. This can be a difficult adjustment at any time, especially for children. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and everything becomes a lot more difficult.

Fortunately, Toby soon made some friends in his class, and thanks to an innovative United Way School’s Out program, he was able to spend more time with them after school to strengthen those bonds.

“It makes me feel happy because I get to spend more time with my friends outside of school,” says Toby. “The activities we do are really fun, and I get to learn new things. Doing them with my friends just brings joy, really.”

Thanks to the generosity of United Way donors like you, Toby was connected to a local School’s Out program run by Capilano Community Services Society. This fun, educational program combines interactive skill-building with inspiring field trips. The kids are introduced to new ideas, different cultures, and places that they may not otherwise be exposed to due to their personal circumstances. The program has a focus on social and emotional learning with staff supporting school-aged children to broaden their view on the world and their role within it.