Summer Access program continues to grow

A summer initiative aimed at giving vulnerable youth much-needed support increased in size for the fourth year in a row, offering programming to more children than ever in 2017.

The Joint Use Summer Access Program connects community groups that want to offer summer programming to spaces in schools during the summer months.

This plays a pivotal role in helping children and youth become more actively involved in their communities, experience greater academic success and develop an enhanced sense of belonging and identity.

The program is coordinated in partnership by the City of Edmonton, Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord, Edmonton Catholic School District, Edmonton Public School Board and REACH Edmonton.

“This is a preventative and collaborative approach to building safer, healthier and more vibrant communities,” said Jan Fox, executive director of REACH Edmonton.

In 2017, the program provided space in 29 schools to 25 groups, which offered high quality summer programming to more than 2,600 children and youth.

Consistency among partners and staff from 2016 to 2017 made collaboration easier. Since all of the partners had participated before, there was a good understanding of how to go about the work, how to support each other and how to address unexpected challenges.

REACH is dedicated to helping the program continue to grow, as it offers vital supports to students and their families during the summer months.

“These groups are building their capacity and improving their ability to deliver programs that are recreational and educational, while reflecting the needs of the community,” said Fox. “In giving students the tools they need to succeed in school and in their community, these partners are helping promote resilience and build brighter futures for Edmonton’s children and youth.”