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Mercredi, 17 juillet 2024

Engaging Afterschool Programming

By Alicia Mancini
Special Collaboration

The falling leaves, the crisp mornings and that smell in the air; it’s back to school time! For BGC Dawson that means back to afterschool time. Come September the staff and centre are eager and excited to welcome back the students of Verdun Elementary, Riverview Elementary and Children’s World Academy.

From September to June parents are faced with the question of what to do with their children when the bell rings at dismissing school. School ends hours before the average work day and parents are looking for options for care. BGC Dawson is an excellent choice. The afterschool program fills up fast for just that reason. By October we will be serving 60 members in this program.

What can members of the afterschool program expect to be doing at Dawson; the answer is a little bit of everything. There’s the gym where everyone can access recreational programs like basketball, floor hockey and badminton. Other activities include academic support, arts and crafts and digital literacy. The coordinator, Cindy Cohen, strives to make sure programs are child-led and focus on social and emotional development. A lot of this is made possible through partnerships. We work with BGC Canada, The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation, Canadian Tire JumpStart and many more to provide programs and initiatives that make a real impact in the lives of these children. “I love the evolution of partnerships that have come into afterschool, it is amazing!” says Cindy.

One thing that is evident is that the team executing afterschool programming is incredibly dedicated and engaged. They know the kids and they know the families. They are there to share in the triumphs of each child and support them where they need the extra help. “I love-love-love my team, they are stellar. Some of them grew up in the program and came back to make the same impact as animators. It’s more then a job for them.” says Cindy. This team has created a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment where fun is a top priority. With so many pressures and expectations put before them children need a place to unwind, be creative and silly after a day in the classroom. “They are here for fun, and they get what they need.” concludes Cindy. Judging by the laughter and excitement vibrating through the centre I’d say she’s right!

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